Things Golden Valley Snowplow Drivers Wish You Knew
Navigating through a winter wallop of snow and ice is an annual adventure for any Minnesotan who has to hit the roads.
But getting from point A to point B when ‘Old Man Winter’ rears his ugly head wouldn’t be possible without the existence of snowplows and the people who drive them.
“Our main goal is to make the roads as safe as possible while balancing the environmental impacts,” said Tim Kieffer, the maintenance manager for Golden Valley’s Public Works Department.
The city has 10 trucks that can plow snow, de-ice the roads, and prevent ice from building up on those roads.
“Those residential roads are our responsibility,” Kieffer said.
While residential roads may not have the same sort of traffic volume as a busy highway, there are still some things Kieffer wants people to keep in mind when they see these snowplows at work.
Keep Your Distance
“The biggest thing is, just give us a lot of room,” Kieffer said. “We have limited visibility. We have lots of blind spots behind us, to the side of us, especially when we’re backing up at intersections.”
Golden Valley’s trucks warn people to stay back at least 50 feet. Kieffer, however, recommends keeping a distance of around 300 feet to ensure that his drivers have enough space.
“We do a lot of backing up at intersections, so just giving us that space to do our operation,” he said.
Obstructions Create a Hazard
Another problem for snowplow drivers are obstructions in the road.
“Parked cars and garbage receptacles create a significant hazard, cause we’re having to slow down, change our direction, reduce our momentum,” Kieffer said. “And we need to keep a certain amount of momentum.”
His recommendation is to keep your trash bins out of the street if it snows on garbage day.
It’s one simple thing that allows the snowplow drivers to do their job.
“If we can educate the public on giving us that added space, it’ll just help us do our job better,” he said.
As a safety precaution, Golden Valley also asks residents not to have kids playing out in the street while crews plow the roads.
Meanwhile, in the coming months, Golden Valley plans to offer residents the opportunity to ride along with a plow driver, that way they can have a better understanding of what it takes to operate the equipment.