A salute to snowplow drivers

Published 9:07 am Monday, January 22, 2018

What a difference a year makes! Other than a brief period of cold weather with maybe an inch of snow the first week of last January, Winter 2016-17 was mild, even warm. Early long-range forecasts predicted this winter would be warmer than usual.
Forget it. Mother Nature hammered us last week.
We received upwards of three inches of snow and some bitter cold temperatures, making some roads extremely dangerous to drive on.
The ultimate heroes this week are the oft forgotten snowplow drivers and employees, who pick up our garbage.
It’s easy to take snow plowing for granted because when it needs to be done, it’s done in a timely manner by city, county and state workers. While snowplow drivers get extra pay for the extra hours they spend clearing the white stuff, the job is difficult and dangerous and takes the workers away from their homes and families, often during the night while the rest of us are asleep, so we can make it to school and work.
Sure, sometimes we want to wave an angry fist when a snowplow pushes banks of snow in front of our driveway as it clears the road. But we know the drivers are just doing their jobs, and doing them very well.
Then, there were those neighbors who plowed neighbors’ driveways and cleared sidewalks.
Snow plowing is frequently a thankless job, but can you imagine what life would have been like this week (and the rest of January, February, March and maybe even April) without them?
We prefer not to hike miles to work in the snow and bitter cold, and grocery runs are somewhat of a necessity. So, thank a snowplow driver because you’re not stuck at home for days on end. And while you’re at it, get out of their way if you’re in a vehicle so they can get to work.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has a long and highly-valued partnership with county highway departments who do an outstanding job keeping state roadways clear of snow and ice. The state, city, and county work closely to implement the latest technologies and efficiencies to help keep travelers and commerce moving safely. Motorists can do their part by slowing down, give plows plenty of room to operate, and stay off roads if possible during severe winter storms so plow operators can do their work.
For these snowplow drivers, there are a lot of early starts and long days, often in cold, nasty conditions. Sometimes the nastiness comes from people who are critical of their performance. It is a tough job, but plow operators are very much appreciated because without them everyone would be in the same place — stuck.
For most of us, we’ve had enough of the bitter cold temperatures and snow for a while. Of course, it doesn’t matter what we think, because Mother Nature does what she does, when she wants to do it. And, there’s not much we can do about it except complain — and shovel.
With it only being January, and winter just now underway, there will be many more opportunities to be a good Samaritan. In the dreariness of winter, we hope you spread these bits of light, and thank a snowplow driver.

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