Snow plowing

Heavy equipment driver working to push snow to the side of the streets after a blizzard

This may seem a little odd, but one of the many hazards you need to be aware of, is snow removal equipment on the streets and highways, especially at night. During the day, they tend to clear the city streets, as they can general make as much noise as they want, and they can be easily seen.  Overnight is when they tend to remove road side snowbanks, as they need to block some lanes to move the snow into a place they can get to it with large equipment, load it up and haul it away. Highway plowing operations are carried out anytime it is deemed necessary. Both highway and urban snow clearing present dangers in our industry for various reasons. In urban settings, most grocery deliveries to warehouses are done at night when traffic flow is low, and parking lot access to loading docks is less hindered. This is also the time most places have crews in to clear the parking lots. Use extra caution when maneuvering through lots that are being cleared, as the equipment may move in unexpected directions at anytime, and snow piles could be just about anywhere, and may be very difficult to see. Highway snow clearing operations are even more dangerous for a number of reasons. First off, the plows don’t travel very fast, maybe 60 km/h, so you will catch up to them rather quickly. Passing them must be done with the greatest of care, and patience is required. I’m sure we have all seen the video that circulated a few years ago of the truck passing a snow plow and almost causing a head-on collision. If you do decide to pass a snow plow, be certain that you have enough room to safely pass, and remember, the plow operator might not be able to see you, due to the snow swirling around the plow truck. Also remember, he is riding right along the centre line of the road to ensure the entire road surface is plowed. Keep in mind that once you are in front of him, you may well be blazing the trail, and exactly where the road ends and the shoulders and ditches begin may be a guessing game. Unless you are first in line behind the plow, just stay in line, and wait until you are directly behind the plow before attempting to overtake him. I’ve seen too many collisions caused by someone getting impatient and attempting to overtake a line of 6 or 7 vehicles just because they’re in a hurry. Remember, no load or delivery appointment is worth risking your life, or the lives of others on the road.