COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As temperatures drop, roads can quickly become hazardous, but state officials said they are ready for the battle with ice and snow.
NBC4 met up with a snowplow driver at their Westerville facility as he and others went over last minute preparations to make sure their trucks are ready for the winter season.
Even though the Ohio Department of Transportation snowplows are huge, white in color, and well-lit with dozens of flashing neon lights, officials said that doesn’t guarantee other drivers will see them or give them a wide berth.
Plow driver Prother Cole said he can handle the long hours and likes the work, but worries other drivers don’t take weather conditions as serious as he does. Here are some tips he said can keep him and you safe while driving near a snowplow.
“Do not tailgate, stay as many feet back as possible. Be careful while passing, especially on the sides, because sometimes we may be pushing snow in that direction and cannot see you. Don’t crowd the plow.”
District 6 has 166 snowplows and 201 drivers covering nearly 5,000 lane miles.
If the weather becomes more severe in one district, ODOT District 6 Spokesperson Nancy Burton said they will move snowplows from one district to another to help out. Their deputy director said they also have several options when combating ice and snow depending on what weather conditions are developing.
“In addition to salt we also have salt brine, we have liquid calcium, we have Beet Heat and we have a product called Aqua Salina so we use all those products in conjunction with the salt,” said District 6 Deputy Director Mitch Blackford.
He said there is an abundant supply of salt this year, and last year’s mild winter helped keep the prices reasonable.
In 2016 snowplow drivers locally traveled 501,707 miles removing ice and snow. And the cost for the district, which encompasses eight surrounding counties, was $6 million.