Plowing snow is a demanding job that requires working in challenging weather conditions. Whether you're a professional snow plower or doing it as a side gig, safety should always be your top priority. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2014-2018, there were 6,175 fatal crashes involving snow, sleet, or ice. Out of these, 446 crashes involved snow removal equipment, including snow plows. In this article, we'll discuss some essential tips on how to stay safe while plowing.
What to do:
Inspect the Plow: Before starting, inspect the plow for any damage or malfunctions. Ensure that the plow blade, hydraulic system, and other parts are functioning correctly. Make sure the plow is securely attached to the truck and that all bolts are tightened.
Wear Proper Gear: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Wear warm clothing, gloves, and boots to keep you warm and dry. High visibility clothing or reflective gear is also crucial to make sure other drivers can see you.
Keep Your Windshield Clear: It's essential to keep your windshield clean and clear while plowing. Clear the snow and ice off your windshield before starting and frequently throughout the job. Always use a good-quality windshield scraper and snow brush to maintain a clear view of the road ahead.
Stay Alert: When plowing, always stay alert and attentive to your surroundings. Keep an eye out for other vehicles, pedestrians, or any obstacles that may be in your way. Stay focused on the job and avoid distractions like texting or talking on the phone.
Drive Slowly: Plow at a safe and reasonable speed, taking into account the weather and road conditions. Avoid sudden movements and sharp turns that can cause the truck to lose control. Always keep a safe distance from other vehicles and avoid tailgating.
Take Breaks: Plowing can be a tiring and exhausting job. Take breaks when needed to rest and stretch your legs. Stay hydrated and keep snacks and drinks nearby to maintain your energy levels.
Maintain Your Equipment: Regularly maintain and service your plow and truck to ensure they're in good working condition. Check the tire pressure, brakes, and steering to avoid any potential problems.
What to bring:
Snacks and Drinks: When plowing snow all night, you'll need to stay fueled and hydrated. Bring snacks like energy bars, trail mix, and fruit to keep your energy levels up. Don't forget to bring plenty of water and other hydrating drinks like sports drinks or hot beverages like tea or coffee to keep you warm and awake.
Emergency Supplies: In case of any unexpected emergencies, bring a small first aid kit, a flashlight, and a portable charger to keep your phone charged in case of an emergency. It's also a good idea to have a blanket and extra clothes in case of any unexpected accidents or if your clothes get wet.
Navigation tools: When plowing all night, it's important to stay on track and avoid getting lost. Bring a GPS system or maps to help you navigate the roads and find your way around. Also, bring a good-quality windshield scraper and snowbrush to keep your windshield clear of snow and ice.
Communication Tools: It's important to stay connected with other plow operators, your team, or dispatch. Bring a two-way radio or a cell phone to stay in communication in case of any problems or emergencies.
Entertainment: During long hours of plowing, it's important to stay alert and awake. Bring some entertainment options like an audiobook, music, or a podcast to keep your mind engaged and focused.
Staying safe while plowing is essential for both you and other drivers on the road. By following these essential tips, you can minimize the risk of accidents or injuries and ensure a successful plowing job. Remember to stay alert, drive slowly, take breaks, and maintain your equipment to ensure a safe and productive plowing experience.