This week is Winter Weather Preparedness Week and to gain a better perspective of what it’s like for a snow plow driver during a snow event, Indiana Department of Transportation officials invited members of the media to hitch a ride with driver Dave Pennington to get a snowbird’s eye view of the process.
WKVI’s Anita Goodan rode in the snow plow and even though reporters were offered a chance to drive in an obstacle course at the Plymouth Sub-district, she opted not to challenge the state’s insurance policy. However she did talk to six-year snow plow driver, Dave Pennington, while in the snow plow about what challenges he faces while out on a route.
“We’re watching out for other vehicles, keeping an eye on your plow, and keeping speed down depending on the snow or the situation,” stated Pennington.
He explained that all snow plow drivers are required to have a CDL and go through training to properly drive a snow plow. He added that a snow plow driver needs to understand the mechanics of snowfall.
“You have to learn how the snow is falling. If it’s blowing snow, there’s times when you can’t put down salt if there’s a lot of blowing snow because you’ll just cause the snow to be trapped on the road because it melts and freezes.”
Drivers also have to know how to position the plow to throw snow a certain way and if the driver doesn’t throw it out far enough, the snow will build up on the shoulder and it can’t be rid of as plowing continues.
Pennington said that the crews will go out once snow starts to fall and put some salt down and they will work around the clock to make sure that roads are clear so we can travel as safely as possible.
INDOT Spokesman Matt Deitchley added that Winter Weather Preparedness Week is a good time to remind drivers to drive carefully during snow events.
“We’re really pushing the word to folks to do the typical things that we all know to do but seem to forget sometimes,” explained Deitchley. “Leave a little early to give yourself some extra time to get to your destination. Watch for road conditions. We encourage folks to look at our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest or our Twitter account (@INDOTNorthwest) for road conditions and any information you’re looking for before you head out the door.”
Drivers should be patient when approaching a snow plow on Indiana’s roadways.
“I understand that a lot of folks will be stuck behind a snow plow that is going 15, 20, or 25 mph and it can be frustrating, but just know that the plows are going that speed because that’s the safest speed they can go. They’re out there clearing the roads for you. We really encourage folks to give those plows plenty of room to work. Don’t drive aggressively around the plows otherwise you’ll be endangering not just them but yourselves. Also, the roads will not be cleared enough.”
This is a good time to pack an emergency kit for your car that might include a flashlight, blankets, batteries, sand or kitty litter, shovel, candles, matches, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit and jumper cables.