I know of no more God-forsaken job in the world than being a snow plow driver.
If you spend more than two minutes on a Facebook website or in a public setting at a local restaurant, the talk always turns to snow plowing and snow plow drivers. It is a wonder that anyone would choose to do that work.
Snow plowing is done at multiple levels. First, there are those who plow for local governments. Then there are those who plow for a private company. Then there are the folks who plow the roads and parking lots for retail stores and cemeteries. No matter how you slice it, snow plowing is no fun.
The most common snow plow operators I see are the village of Lake Hallie and the Chippewa County Highway Department.
Once upon a time, the town of Hallie and the village of Lake Hallie never replaced a dump truck/snow plow until the truck literally blew up. Of course, these trucks are subjected to the most abuse of any truck in the world.
Usually bought for the lowest price and the lightest construction, the truck became no match for old man winter.
The trucks usually broke down at the height of some massive snow storm and people got madder the higher the snow got. When all appeared lost, town of Hallie Road Supervisor Ernie Ewing would fire up the 1958 Austin-Western Road Grader to save the town. If the V plow was on the front of the grader, you knew we had one heck of a snow storm.
There was a time milk haulers also plowed driveways, roads and farm yards to get to the milk house. My father-in-law was such a man. He hauled milk for 45 years and for many of them had to plow his way into the farm to get the milk.
He finally quit when the insurance got too high and some farmers became unreasonable. He never regretted the decision to get out of the snow plowing business.
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Cemetery sextons also plow roads. The sextons at local cemeteries are out plowing almost the minute the snow stops. Since Wisconsin has a state statute that requires winter burials, it behooves cemeteries to keep roads open. I do not envy them their task. Most cemeteries have adequate snow removal equipment but another type of service requires sextons to open and close graves. Winter is a tough season for cemeteries.
The Chippewa County Highway Department does a great job.
I suspect that they take almost as much abuse as do the municipal snow plow drivers who plow your driveway shut. From where I live on 40th Avenue, I can see the Chippewa County Highway Department plowing Highway 29. They are out there in all types of weather. I know things are bad when I see no amber lights on Highway 29. Then I know I had better stay put.
From a firefighting standpoint, also a tip of the hat to county and local snow plow operators. When The View burned last winter, Chippewa County and the town of Lafayette road crews kept County Trunk X open with plenty of salt and sand. It is somewhat late to say it to those folks, but from the Chippewa Fire District, thank you,
It has been said that operating a snow plow is like playing a church pipe organ while going down the road at about 30 mph. You are required to use both feet and both hands while being aware of the folks around you and staying alert for the folks who don’t see you. Yellow and orange lights have never kept anyone totally safe.
In Wisconsin, it is advisable to stay at least 200 feet behind a snow plow. Most snow plow operators wish you were 500 feet behind them. Passing a snow plow is not a good idea, nor is getting too close. When the sander/salter apparatus comes on it, does not do wonders for your car finish.
We complain that our roads are not plowed soon enough. We complain when the snow plow furrows our driveways shut. But very few of us would like to change places with plow operators.
Thanks, ladies and gentlemen. We do appreciate you.