Doing their best at a very tough job.

What a winter it has been! As I look out the window of my warm and cozy house, I can see the plow trucks going by. Some are driven by people who work to keep our town roads and parking lots safe, and some are driven by people who work to keep driveways and private parking lots safe. Have you ever thought about how we depend on these drivers?

I think we often take them for granted.

We expect to have the roads cleared as soon as it starts snowing. After all, we have places to go.

These great people work long hours to get the job done. So what if the plow drivers have to leave their warm beds, miss their baby’s first birthday party, their daughter’s dance recital, or their son’s basketball game? So what if they can’t visit a family member who has been hospitalized; we need our road plowed.

I challenge you to thank these people. If you see them at the local store, ask them how long they’ve been out working, or how long they expect to be out. Ask them how long it’s been since they had a hot meal.

Have patience, and keep a few facts in mind: Breakdowns happen … equipment fails. The trucks and equipment see a lot of miles and hours, and despite frequent and regular maintenance, stuff breaks. Unexpected things happen, even when drivers are careful. Think about glare ice, steep hills and curves, and visibility of 20 feet or less.

Whether privately employed or working for the Town, County or State, all this happens with a budget in mind: a budget for sand, salt, maintenance, overtime, and repairs. The reason the plow goes by again and again after a storm ends is to push back banks, especially in a winter like this where storm follows storm; otherwise roads become very narrow.

Nighttime snow removal may disturb your peaceful slumber, but that is the safest time for major snow removal in school yards and at intersections.

These people are doing the best they can with what they have, and those resources are naturally depleted as the winter goes on, and on, and on. Remember to give them a smile and a thank-you for keeping us as safe as possible when we go to our cars and head out to wherever it is we need to go.

Credit to Beth Frost, Andover Beacon News.

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