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Making Snow Plowing Safer


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If there seemed to be more snow plows than usual coming through Verona yesterday, there were: Public works crews from eight towns had been invited to bring their rigs to the Verona Pool parking lot to be tested on their safe driving skills.

The test has become known as a “snow plow rodeo” because drivers need to show their agility and technique, both in operating the big rigs that require a commercial driver’s license and the small pickup trucks. There were safety cone courses to navigate–in forward and reverse. Drivers were graded for speed through the course, but also, and more importantly, accuracy, by Tim Weir, a risk control specialist, on behalf of the New Jersey Intergovernmental Insurance Fund. NJIFF provides property and casualty insurance to municipalities in the state, including Verona.
While winning a snow plow rodeo won’t reduce a crew’s insurance rates, regularly testing snow plow drivers on their skills can be a way to prevent accidents and damage claims. That’s particularly important in Verona, because turnover in our road crews in recent years means that our current snow plow drivers may not have as much experience as their predecessors. Verona’s crew, which captured the snow plow rodeo’s CDL trophy last year, seemed to be doing just fine yesterday, though we won’t have the full grading for a few weeks.

The rodeo was the second to be organized in Verona by Len Waterman, the head of Verona’s Buildings & Grounds Department, and Weir praised Waterman for his thoroughness. In addition to Verona, Cedar Grove, Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Old Bridge, Wayne, Roseland and Maplewood also sent crews for testing.

And now, as the tag said on one of Verona’s plow blades, “Let It Snow.”

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  1. This test should also be conducted during times of limited visibility because most plows operate after dark.


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