YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – With 10-plus inches of snow in the Youngstown area falling overnight Monday into Tuesday morning, the Ohio Department of Transportation and local tow truck drivers had one of their busiest days of the winter season.
ODOT sent 45 trucks out to plow and treat the roads.
Veteran ODOT plow driver Randy Kish said clearing away the snow — like what fell overnight and Tuesday morning is a time-intensive process. Kish has worked two 16-hour shifts this week to keep up with the snow.
As he manipulated the controls for his plow blade, he slowed down to get around others who were stuck in the deep snow on the sides of the freeway. He also slowed down when crossing overpasses to avoid having the snow fall on vehicles below.
Kish said the biggest problems he and other plow operators face are the drivers who don’t leave them enough room to do their jobs.
“We got cars that want to get up right next to us… It’s just not the best thing in the world,” he said.
Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said his department recommends drivers stay out of the way of snow plows so they can get the job done. He said moving wet, heavy snow means drivers need to keep up a good pace.
“It’s difficult sometimes when the truck’s moving, fully loaded, to stop if a car’s in front of them too slow or to get out of the way,” he said.
Ginnetti said his 20 drivers spent about four hours on the roads Monday night and were back at it by 4 a.m. Tuesday.
At Boardman Towing, more than 90 calls came in for vehicles that needed a tow.
“Unfortunately, we can’t get to everybody as quick as everybody might want. The demand was unreal this morning,” said Chris Flynn, of Boardman Towing.
The most common problem Tuesday was people getting stuck in their driveways.
“Fortunately, nothing real severe — a couple relatively minor crashes, and we towed a couple vehicles from crashes,” Flynn said.
Flynn recommended that drivers who feel like they are starting to slide avoid hitting their brakes, which often causes vehicles to lose control. If the vehicle does get stuck, he said many vehicles are equipped with traction control systems that allow the wheels to spin freely, which helps get the vehicle unstuck.
The best thing you can do to avoid any of these situations, is to take it slow and give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, he added.