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WINTER | Snowplow safety

What snowplow operators want you to know to be safe

CBC News

Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 5:46 PM - With more snow expected for P.E.I. Wednesday, snowplow operators want Islanders to know a few things to stay safe on the roads.

Jimmy Ryhnes, snowplow operations supervisor for Queens County, said the winter season so far has been extremely busy for operators with snow coming early and remaining consistent.

"It's been busy and busy is good."

All 61 snowplows for Queens County are on the road when it storms. Rhynes said most workers have been putting in about eight- to 12-hour shifts, with plows burning more fuel, using more supplies and requiring more repairs this winter. 

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To prepare for more snow, snowplows have been doing something called "winging." That's when the side blade of a snowplow is used to push snow banks back from the road to make room for more snow. 

This can sometimes cause roads to look wider than they are, so Rhynes said people need to be careful when they're pulling over.

"People pull off the shoulder of the road because it's cleaned off, so they pull over and they say 'well maybe I'm not back far enough, I'll just go another foot or two.' That's when they drop off, that's when they get stuck," he said.

"If they do pull on the shoulder of the road, use caution. I wouldn't go a way over on the shoulder. Even if they kept a couple wheels on the pavement. That way they're safe. They're not going to be in the ditch."


Rhynes said he's also asked his operators to stop driving plows if they see children on snow banks for safety reasons. 

He said if children were to be out of sight of the plow driver they could get hit.

Snowbanks can also become quite high if enough snow accumulates. If a child is playing on it, Rhynes said they could slip, fall and seriously hurt themselves. 

"Play in the backyard. Don't be on the snowbanks because the last thing we want is an accident to happen," he said.


Most importantly, Rhynes said, is for drivers to slow down on the roads.

"Don't get out and pass. We're there for a reason, to keep the road safe for the public, but sometimes people I know haven't got much patience," he said.

"Please stay behind the plows when they're plowing."

This article was originally published on CBC.ca by Nicole Williams.


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