Editorial - Thanks to those who help us through the stormSuddenly, there was too much snow in the driveway to get through without getting stuck. Snow blowers and shovels had to come out, along with heavy gloves and snow pants. We were forced to change plans and activities. We had to stay cooped up at home; some even were unable to get into work.
This week’s snowstorm showed how we (or those who aren’t thrilled with getting large amounts of snowfall all at once) have had it much too easy this winter.
Suddenly, there was too much snow in the driveway to get through without getting stuck. Snow blowers and shovels had to come out, along with heavy gloves and snow pants. We were forced to change plans and activities. We had to stay cooped up at home; some even were unable to get into work.
Because of this winter’s scarcity of snow, it was easy to forget about all those who help us through the storm:
• The weather forecasters who give us advance notice that bad weather is on the way. (And yes, the media who help sound the alert – although sometimes with a bit too much hype.)
• Law enforcement officers and dispatchers who keep watch on the roads, issue travel warnings and respond to the emergencies that the snowfall brings.
• Ambulance personnel who still have to stabilize sick or injured people and get them to the hospital, no matter what the weather is like.
• The snow removal crews who are out sanding the slippery spots and moving mountains of snow to make the roads passable again.
• The tow truck drivers who venture out in all kinds of miserable weather to pull people out of the ditch or assist at a crash site.
• Businesses who keep their parking lots open, safe and accessible to customers. It’s not an easy job clearing away all that snow.
• Residents who shovel out the sidewalks by their home so others can get where they need to go without having to venture out on the busy streets.
• Neighbors who are looking out for their fellow neighbors by helping them shovel out a driveway.
• Strangers who spot a car in a ditch and stop to offer a helping hand.
• All those who work hard to restore “normalcy” to our daily routines after a big storm hits.
• And lastly, all those who heed the warnings and stay put when bad weather strikes and are careful when venturing out in the aftermath.
Remember this advice from the Minnesota Department of Transportation:
• It takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions. Plan ahead before you set out on your trip.
• Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip. Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
• Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
• Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions and give yourself plenty of travel time. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.
• Buckle up and ensure children are properly secured in the correct child restraint.
• Avoid unnecessary travel if road conditions are hazardous.
Despite a foot of snow, those in Douglas County came through it just fine; there were no bad crashes or storm-related injuries. Let’s continue on that path the rest of the winter.