Give snowplows lots of room, or prepare to be sliced
If it comes to a duel between a lumbering snowplow and a zippy little car, the plow will win every time.
And that’s the best reason to give snowplows plenty of space and respect; otherwise, dumb drivers could find themselves on the wrong end of a steel blade that amounts to a huge can (or car) opener.
After a snowless January, it finally looks like winter around here, and none too soon for Joe the Snowplow Jockey, who sends us emails every winter about the challenges of pushing snow.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Joe, who doesn’t get paid if there’s no snow. “Last year I could not wait until winter was over. This year is a starvation year.”
Joe learned the hard way that drivers consistently underestimate the space needed by a plow, and the danger of getting too close. So he provides us with tersely worded advice that seems obvious but is often ignored.
“Just stay the hell away from us! We’re helping you to get where you need to go, so stop treating us like the enemy and giving us the finger.
“Everybody is in a hurry, but if you get impatient and try to pass me, my plow blade could end up impaling your car, and you’ll be to blame for it.”
When drivers see an angled line of snowplows across all lanes, Joe says to avoid the temptation to weave in and out of them. The blade makes it hard for plow drivers to see cars that are close, increasing chances something bad could happen.
“If you’re coming to a hill and see that cars are getting stuck, turn around, even if you have to do a U-turn. We can’t plow the hill if a lot of cars are stuck on it.”
All-season tires are anything but. Only winter snow tires provide enough traction to safely drive in snow. Everyone should have them.
Here’s his No. 1 tip for non-drivers: If you shovel snow from your driveway onto the road, Joe guarantees that the next plow that comes along will push it back into your windrow, where it’ll be twice as hard to shovel later on.
So stand warned, and bring on the snow.
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TORONTO STAR | YOURTORONTO