While it has been a cold November, so far the snow has stayed away from northeast Wisconsin other than a dusting here and there.
Everyone around here knows that greenish/brown grass soon will give way to a covering of white, but thankfully there is a small army of people and machines ready to keep roads, sidewalks, and parking lots clear once significant snowfall does arrive.
This past Monday (Nov. 26) was Snowplow Driver Appreciation Day in Wisconsin as proclaimed by Governor Scott Walker. It is an annual observance, and it makes sense to have the special day at the start of the season to hopefully put people in a frame of mind to be thankful for these people who do an often thankless job.
Think about it—plow operators often have to get out of their nice, warm, safe beds in the middle of the night, venture out into the worst of Wisconsin’s weather, and sometimes make their way on snow-covered roads to get to their plows. Then they spend hours clearing snow off pavement while trying not to hit other vehicles, some of which are not being operated too safely for the conditions. In exchange for their efforts they sometimes get ridiculed for not being prompt enough or for leaving snow in a place where a homeowner has already cleared.
“Snowplow drivers provide a critical public service that helps to ensure continued operations for businesses, medical services, schools—and life in general—all winter long,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Dave Ross said. “Throughout winter, every motorist has the opportunity to pay it forward for our hardworking snowplow drivers by driving carefully, giving snowplows room to work and, when possible, avoiding travel during heavy storms.”
As part of a century-old partnership, WisDOT contracts with all 72 county highway departments for winter maintenance on state roads. Ross suggests that before traveling people should call 511 or go online (511wi.gov) to check on road conditions and possible incidents. Consider downloading the 511 Wisconsin smartphone app.
Buckle up, watch what is happening ahead, and allow plenty of following distance to let snowplow operators do their jobs this winter. —Mark Sherry