The people that operate snow plows have to be ready to go at any time of the day or night. An individual that drives a snow plow has to have practice. They will usually go out with an experienced driver and begin to gain experience. First, they watch and listen. Then they will be given a chance to drive with the experienced person. Finally, they will go solo. A person that drives a plow must have a good enough vehicle, that will get them to their job on time. When the phone rings from their supervisor, they have to be ready to go.
Here are some helpful tips for the snow plow driver. Check your equipment. This is usually done weeks before the first snowfall occurs. Look for leaks and cracks in hoses, salt spreader, lights wiper blades, tires, and chains. The hydraulics that lift and lower your blade needs to be checked periodically. Be sure your vehicle is up to cold standards. Have extra emergency flares, first aid kit, heavy duty chain, and a fire extinguisher. Some drivers will carry an extra blanket or two for stranded motorists.
A driver must take care of themselves, like they do their vehicle. Their diet is very important. Caffeine products will stimulate at first but become depressants later. Eat low fat and high protein items. Stay away from fat and greasy items. They tend to make you sleepy. Chicken, fish, soup, fresh fruit and veggies are great. To avoid getting too sluggish, roll down your window a crack for fresh air. Stop in the middle of the road, when there is no traffic around, and stretch your legs. Most accidents with a snow plow are caused by tired, sluggish decisions. A driver must be alert at all times for unseen problems that jump up.
The time to begin clearing shoulders and structures and moving snow is after the storm has past. The first item on your agenda is the road itself. Never assume that other motorists know what you are doing. Many times blowing snow will block the other motorists view of your work. You generally sit up higher so you can get a better view than a typical driver. Make sure your lights are on. Make sure that your brake lights and turn indicators are used properly. They might have to be cleared from time to time.
Never dump or push from overhead bridges onto road ways below. Don’t block railroad tracks. If an overhead pass has drains on it, keep them clear for melting snow. Try to avoid water ponds near drains and culverts along the road way. Puddles will freeze up keeping the water from draining properly.
Once you have a lane open, remove the snow from the center line. Open up intersections as wide as possible. The same is true with bridges and overpasses. They will tend to hold the snow in place. so you have to try and improve the conditions by moving it off of it. Overpasses are elevated and the cold air tends to freeze rain and melting snow. You might want to consider extra salt in these locations. Be ware of side road obstacles like mail boxes and signs. Water hydrants can easily be covered up by snow as well.
When plowing; do not go too fast. Do not plow off the gravel. Do not plow to a false shoulder of the road. Do not plow off salt before it has had time to work. Lastly, do not plow against the flow of traffic. Carry a cell phone or radio with new batteries. If you have Internet access, check your computer and its access to the weather channel. Radar weather will let you know what is coming your way. Always expect the worst but look for the best. Dress with the proper clothing and good boots. If you have to walk, you will be glad that you did. Know your route. Drive it several times a year and look for new challenges.
Commuters and motorists depend on you. Many times you won’t hear the word “thanks.” But the thoughts are always there.