[1/25/18] An Inside Look At The Life Of A Snow Plow Driver

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Many think driving a snowplow for the DOT in NCW would be an easy job with lots of overtime. But, it can be mentally and physically taxing for 10 hr stretches at a time, maybe even longer. Marcus Bellissimo reports

I bet your snow plow drivers love winter and all that overtime.” Is a familiar refrain heard by WSDOT employees when the snow starts to fly. Overtime is a fact of life in the winter since storms pay no attention to clocks or maintenance shed boundaries. WSDOT snow plow drivers and maintenance crews work 10 hour shifts, four days in a row. They run two shifts per day and twice a day there are 90 minute periods when all the plows are off the road. Jeff Adamson, Communications Manager with DOT’s North Central Regional Office.

122917 ADAMSON BITE#1 :43

“….of that concept truck and go.”

However, when there is a snowstorm underway, DOT snow plow drivers expect to continue plowing snow for that hour and a half before they hand off their truck to their replacement. And if conditions are such that more snowplows are needed, Jeff Adamson explains the shuffle that takes place to ensure more plows on the roadway.

122917 ADAMSON BITE#2 :22

“….from Wenatchee to cover their zone.”

If it is snowing heavily all over the region, the DOT will call crewmembers in from their days off. Think about being behind the wheel of a snowplow for 10 hours. A driver has to concentrate every moment, under hazardous if not treacherous conditions. That is mentally and physically exhausting. The DOT keeps a close watch on driver fatigue. Again, Jeff Adamson. 

122917 ADAMSON BITE#3 :50

“….on the people they’re trying to protect.”

If you’d like to drive a snow plow for the DOT, expect long hours at a job where concentration is needed every moment you’re behind the wheel, which can be all or most of your shift. If you regular traveler of a roadway that gets plowed so you can take that trip over the passes or just get to work or home in the evening, you can thank a DOT snow plow driver for making it possible. Or give them cookies, I hear they like cookies.