COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4 News) – Snow keeps piling on our state and our snow plow drivers are working extremely hard making sure roads remain safe and clear as possible.
One of those snow plow drivers is Mike Rudd. He’s been working as a snow plow driver for the past 5 years. This morning when we met up with him he was just finishing his 14 hour shift. Bringing his total work week so far to well over 60 hours in just the last four days. But, he was happy to stick around a few extra minutes to give our crews a ride along to show us what it’s like to do his job.
“We don’t stop, we go around the clock, back in, fill up, and it puts it down so fast that you don’t even see like you’re making a dent,” said Rudd.
Rudd came in to work around 5:00 Wednesday night, right when the snow began to fall, and was immediately out pushing snow off the road. He says the snow storms this past week have rivaled some of the biggest he’s ever had to work through.
“By the time we make out rounds, our full round, either on a side street or a freeway, by the time we get back it’s all covered again,” he said.
That has made his job extra tough. In the past few days there have been several instances where he’s had to go back and re-plow a street he had just finished doing minutes before. For him his biggest concern is people’s safety while he’s out there working.
“they’ll pull out and beat us and they end up spinning out and not paying attention or paying attention to us and then they cause an accident,” added Rudd.
Just in the few miles we traveled along the Fort Union Blvd. area we saw at least 3 cars cut in front of our snow plow and continue on their way. Rudd says that worries him because cars should be traveling behind him, letting him clear the snow and ice. By jumping in front they risk getting into an accident.
For years he has had close calls with cars or even people but he’s experienced enough to look out for those situations, kind of like in Spanish Fork yesterday when a snow plow driver was plowing a street and nearly missed burying a couple of kids who were playing inside a pile of snow on the side of the street. Louis Schardine was that driver and spoke to ABC4 News on the phone about the close call.
“They’d build a cave down into the snow and grabbed he grabbed the top with his hands and popped his head out and I barely had enough time to turn my plow and just barely missed the pile,” he said.
Schardine says when he looked back in his rearview mirror he saw two other children climb out of the mound of snow. He says previous plows had moved all that snow next to the side of the road. He says he understands children want to go out and play in the snow but says they shouldn’t be playing in the snow so close to the street. He says they should stick to their own lawns or at parks. Several news reports have surfaced of children playing in piles like these and getting trapped or even killed when a snow plow drives by burying or trapping a child inside.
“I just really want to get that message out that it’s not a place to play around and I can be very, very dangerous,” Schardine added.
Rudd now has finished his shift and heading home. But he remains on call. Should the roads get messier he’ll be called back out and begin another shift. To all Utahns he wants them to know.
“We’re trying our hardest to get the roads clear in a fast way and a safe way.”