Abbotsford snowplow driver Curtis Jones, 19, just finished a long shift sweeping the streets of Abbotsford. He’s got some friendly advice for the drivers trekking alongside him.
“The biggest thing is distance. Keep your distance. Whether you’re in a parking lot, or the road or in your neighbourhood, just give that snowplow room!” Jones said. “Because he can’t always see you, and you can’t always see which way he’s going to go because we make sudden turns and movements.”
Jones said he’s been working as a snowplow driver for two years and become frustrated that drivers often ignore the flashing lights on snowplows as if they don’t mean anything.
“I was plowing a street today and somebody was just like, ‘Oh I’m just gonna go right in front of you,’” Jones said. “You would think it would be common sense, but apparently it’s not.”
Vehicles should never ride up and hide behind the snowplow because the machines can cause damage to vehicles in a number of ways, according to Jones.
“The salt coming out of the spreader at high speeds like it does… that could break a window,” he said. “If we turn ourselves around, it’ll cause damage to your car and you don’t want that.”
“I’ve seen [the salt] put a hole in a bumper.”
Driving in the current conditions, even with snow tires, should be the last resort for anyone, advises Jones. He said there are plenty of food and shopping services that will deliver to your door.
“Honestly if you don’t need to drive, don’t drive,” Jones said. “If you don’t feel 100 per cent confident that you can make it up or down a hill, or across the street and back, don’t go.”
He said that one of the biggest things snowplow drivers hate to see are cars stuck in the middle of a road that needs to be plowed. Jones said that Highway 1 has been a mess all morning and many of the plow drivers were thankful it has been closed.