THE ROAD AHEAD By Robert L. Phillips, P.E., P.S. Geauga County Engineer
The heavy snows of the past few weeks have brought a particularly dangerous situation to mind, irresponsible plowing by private snow removal contractors. We have all come upon this scenario; we are driving along when we come upon a large wall of snow strewn haphazardly across the road trailing out of a private driveway.
This road hazard is the calling card of some private snowplowers who routinely, and with no thought to safety, plow their client's snow out into the public highway. The pile of snow sits and waits to trap unsuspecting motorists and can easily cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. Homeowners should expect the contractor they hire to plow their snow to do so in an efficient and professional manner. In all fairness, there are many snowplow contractors who discharge their duties responsibly and are a credit to their profession. We can only wish that their not so conscientious counterparts would follow their example.
This practice is not limited to snowplow contractors, but also homeowners who are unfamiliar with snowplowing procedures when plowing their personal driveways. The proper way to plow a driveway is to start at the mouth of the drive and plow in towards the house. There should be a designated area to store the snow in your yard. Snow should never be plowed onto or across the roadway.
Quite often, once the snow is pushed across the roadway, it is left on the berm. This hard packed snow will freeze into a solid block of ice and when the road snowplow comes along this block of ice pushes the plow sideways and may push the truck and plow across the centerline into oncoming traffic.
All snowplow contractors and homeowners alike should be aware that they can be cited by the Geauga County Sheriff's Office or the Ohio State Highway Patrol for placing obstructions, including snow, on the roadway.
Please be responsible. If you hire a private snowplow contractor and notice that he leaves a wall of snow on the road when he is finished, tell him you are not satisfied with his performance. If he refuses to correct the problem, tell him you cannot employ someone who disobeys the law and creates a hazard for the traveling public. Ask around, your neighbors and friends are sure to have the name of another snowplow contractor who is conscientious and responsible. If enough people refuse to employ these individuals, they either will get the message or get put out of business. If you plow your own driveway, please be careful where you deposit the snow and make sure you are visible to oncoming traffic.
If we all work together, we can make this the safest winter season yet.
Claridon Township P.O. Box 66 East Claridon, OH 44033 (440) 635-0648 (Monday & Wednesday - 8:00 am to 12:00 pm) or leave a message (440) 635-9732 Maintenance Department firstname.lastname@example.org