Sunday, February 1, 2009

Notes on Snow and Snowplowing

This post was inspired by Katie's post involving snow plowing

There are people who think they can drive in the snow but can't.

There are people who can't drive in the snow but do.

There are people who can't drive in the snow and leave their car all winter in "No Overnight Parking" or other inconvenient places.

There are people who will race to make their turn behind a dump truck that is backing up.

There are people who save themselves some shoveling by not pulling their car all the way into its parking space and thus giving their neighbors much more snow to shovel from behind their cars before getting out (not to mention the visions conjured up by the plow driver of what their car might look like on top of a snowbank).

When clearing parking spaces there are considerate people who, once you have finished in one AREA will move their cars there so you can clean the spots they had previously occupied.

There are other people who will wait in the middle of the road for 15 minutes until you get to a particular spot at which point they will park there even if the spot next to it or across from it is not yet clean (thus giving less space with which to work on them).

There are still others who, when you are clearing parking spots in one area, will come and (after you have stopped, slowed your engine, and opened your window) ask you to clear their parking spot a quarter mile away - and the high speed mode doesn't work on the skidsteer we usually use for the job.

There are people who find great pleasure in driving through windrows so that you have to re plow in that area.

Some people go running down the middle of the road on blind corners when is still dark in the morning - and our salt spreader truck needs to be driven fast or it puts too much salt down.

When moving snow there are little kids who will return to a particular pile of snow over and over again after you get down from the backhoe and explain to them that it is too dangerous for them to play there while you are working and that there are a dozen other piles nearby that are just as big.

There are people on the sidewalks with headphones on so loud they can't hear a screaming skidsteer engine when you come up behind them and thus continue their leisurely stroll down the center of the sidewalk.

There are people who park their cars on the outside of tight turns (that need to be made with a long truck).

People may make us laugh or irritate us (it depends as much on how many mornings in a row we've gotten up at half past two as it does on what exactly they do) but since we use heavy trucks, and machinery they are rarely dangerous. Curbs, on the other hand are a serious occupational hazard. It seems as though all the plow drivers have hit curbs and in only one story (involving a very heavy tractor that we don't normally use) is the curb the one that breaks. My most intimate experience with one of these friendly pieces of concrete was no worse than a bad punch to the stomach when I ran into it with the bucket of our skidsteer (the laws on conservation of momentum doing their job quite well). Other stories typically involve bloody noses and there is potential for much worse.

All the same I enjoy my time in the plow truck, salt spreader, backhoe, and skidsteer immensely - I hope to get pictures of them to share... sometime.