Column: Hitching a ride with a snow plow driver


In case you missed it, we got a little bit of snow last weekend.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

After spending the majority of last week being bombarded by changing weather forecasts and approximations, Winter Storm Harper arrived and reminded the area that it is still January in Ohio.

A planned part of my job here at The Inquirer was taking a ride with one of the city snow plow drivers for about an hour Saturday afternoon, when some of the heaviest ice and snow was falling.

Let me tell you, I don’t envy them.

To some, it might seem that driving around throwing snow all over the place in a big truck would be a lot of fun. And I’m sure at times, it is.

For me, riding along in the passenger seat of the truck and watching the snow fly off the plow in an arc to see it land on the side of the road was a new experience. Especially for this girl who enjoys the snow and winter months that we have here in Ohio.

I had a great time!

But as a driver, when you are fighting an uphill battle in conditions that continue to deteriorate, their work is less than enjoyable. During a storm like we got last weekend, their work often seems pointless.

Believe it or not, it is every bit as dangerous for the city trucks to be out in these poor weather conditions as it is for the rest of us. They are not indestructible, and driving them takes skill and experience.

In the middle of major weather event, the primary job of the plow drivers is to keep the main roads and state routes as clear as possible, all while circling the city in sections to work on side streets as they can.

And they are doing this while trying to stay out of ditches or a nasty drifts that can can overpower their big truck just as easy as it can a Honda Civic.

But just like everything else, negativity abounds in society today. Maybe it always has, and we are just more aware of it because of social media.

Everywhere I looked on Facebook or elsewhere on either Saturday or Sunday, there were comments and complaints.

“When is my street going to be plowed?”

“Is the city even doing anything about the roads right now?”

I’m here to tell you … THE TRUCKS WERE OUT!

They started their morning by salting as many surfaces as they could to make their plowing efforts easier later in the day..

And once they began to plow around noon, they didn’t stop until roads became too unsafe later in the evening. When Sunday morning came, they were back at it bright and early.

These men work hard, taking extra time away from their families in rotten conditions.

Yes, they get paid for it, but that doesn’t reduce the element of risk or sacrifice in their work just so someone who chooses to complain is able to run after an unneccesary item in terrible road conditions.

So please, the next time you are inconvienced by an act of God that no one can control, take a deep breath, break out a game of Monopoly or Uno, and try to slow down for a day or find a way to help.

 

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Erin Miller is a reporter/photographer for the Galion Inquirer. Email her at emiller@aimmediamidwest.com