Drive a Snowplow During the Winter!
Every winter the cold sets in and snow covers everything in a blanket of white. Winter storms are beautiful, but they make the roads of the world icy and hazardous. Luckily snowplow drivers help keep the roads safe.
Snowplow drivers remove ice and snow from roads, driveways, parking lots, airfields, highways, and railroad tracks. Vehicles are equipped with large plows that push the snow out of the way. They deposit melting solution, salts, and sand to help dissolve the snow and add traction for vehicles.
It is a full time job during the snowy season.
Snowplow drivers always know what’s going on with the weather. They are ready 24/7 because their shift starts as soon as the storm begins and it ends when the roads are open and clear. A storm can leave several feet of snow or only a trace – either way snowplows must operate to keep the roads safe. It is an important job because snow blocks roads, ruins interstate transit, and causes accidents.
The obvious road hazards like poor visibility, aggressive drivers, passing cars, icy roads, and strong gusts of wind can make driving a snowplow a hazardous gig. It can be stressful, tedious work. Imagine a 12-hour shift driving at 40 mph only inches away from concrete barriers where you push snow on the same stretch of road.
A snowplow driver’s work begins long before the snow falls. Vehicles must be filled with gas, salts, solutions, and sand. Equipment like lights, hydraulic systems, and engines must be inspected regularly. When a snowplow driver does start to plow, their day typically starts early and can go around the clock. They plow the main routes first, then secondary routes, airports, neighborhoods, and parking areas.
During work, snowplow drivers operate a variety of controls. They manage the hydraulics that tilt, twist, and tip the plow to push the snow in the correct direction. They make sure hazard lights are flashing to warn drivers of their presence. They monitor sensors and control the dispersal of solutions, salts, and sands. The driver’s seat of a snowplow is more like a cockpit than car seat.
In recent years, technology has taken over the snowplow industry. Now most of the trucks are GPS enabled. They are equipped with video cameras and sensors that are capable of relaying road conditions to headquarters. The vehicles have air and road sensors that help manage the distribution of salts or melting solutions. It’s a high tech gig.
Many snowplow drivers work for the department of transportation and drive massive commercial snowplows with flashing lights that can plow several lanes of the highway at once. But there are also snowplow drivers that have smaller plows attached to heavy-duty pickup trucks or Bobcats. These plow drivers are typically contracted to clear driveways, parking areas, or walkways.
If you want to be a snowplow driver, contact landscape companies, state departments of transportation, or be an independent contractor. Most companies have on the job training. Some even have snowplow simulators that create real life situations like icy roads, whiteout conditions, or angry drivers. These simulators test your driving and reaction skills and help prepare you for life behind the wheel of a snowplow. Depending on what state you work in, you may be required to have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).
Snowplow drivers keep the world moving safely. For every white road that is cleared and opened, a snowplow driver makes $9 to $30 per hour. Wherever there is snow, there is a demand for snowplow drivers.
Driving a snowplow isn’t the job for people who would rather ski on powder days, but if you enjoy pushing snow into a billowing cloud of white smoke with big machines, then sign up to be a snowplow driver today.
Quick Facts About Driving a Snowplow
Job Title: Snowplow Driver, Plow driver
Office: Snowy roads
Description: Salt, sand, and clear snowy and icy roads
Certifications/Education: Commercial Driver License (CDL)
Necessary Skills: Winter Driving Experience, Calm under pressure
Potential Employers: Department of Transportation, Contract Work, Landscape Companies
Pay: $9 to $30 per hour