Operators of UDOT tow plows recently got a chance to practice driving skills.

Three tow plows practice driving skills on a course that simulates intersections, car lined streets and on-ramps. When deployed, the tow plow swings sideways to clear twenty five feet.

“They’re different,” than regular plows, explains Chris Scribner who drives a tow plow for UDOT during the snow season. A tow plow can startle drivers because “it looks like it’s jackknifing,” he says. When deployed, the tow plow swings sideways to clear more of the roadway – a total of twenty five feet, to be exact. A truck with a tow plow takes the place of two trucks. Scribner is one of about thirty plow operators who attended a training to practice driving the unusual plow that helps UDOT improve the efficiency of snow and ice removal.

Curtis Sanchez, Equipment Safety Trainer at UDOT, organized the training “to make sure the operators are as comfortable as possible,” he explains. The training includes classroom time focusing on safety and the pre-ride check and then driving on a course set up to simulate intersections, car-lined streets and on-ramps.

Dirk Richards, a trainer from UDOT Region One, help set up the course. He says it’s important that drivers learn to be aware of their surroundings, and how the equipment will deploy. “So when they are working, there are no surprises on the road.”

Driving the plow is not for rookies. “We’re choosing the best operators in each shed” to be tow plow drivers, says Sanchez.

Driver Mark Prows says tow plow operators need to be acutely aware of the roadway environment and the movement of the plow that’s operated by a complex hydraulic system — all while driving. He compares it to playing the piano. “You have to keep your fingers moving and your eyes on the sheet music… if you’re a little bit off of your game, things can go bad fast.”

UDOT acquired the first tow plows after Heavy Equipment Manager Steve McCarthy saw them at a conference. “I thought it was an idea we needed to explore,” he says. UDOT is one of only a few states that use tow plows. Eventually each shed along the I-15 corridor will have at least one. UDOT currently operates eight tow plows.

22 thoughts on “TOWING THE LINE”

  1. Bob Johnson

    Wow this is crazy stuff! I’m glad I’m down in Arizona where I don’t have to deal with snow. I have a hard enough time driving my standard wrecker.

    Very impressive stuff, my hat goes off to you guys maneuvering those rigs.

    Great article. It’s nice to read about something a little different once in a while.

  2. Julie Gibson

    I’ve been around big rigs and tow trucks my whole life. I find it amazing how the drivers are able to manage the large machinery. This tow plow is on a whole different scale. I would love to see this large behemoth in person!

  3. Noel Asmar

    This tow plow is on a whole different scale. Snow can be the most challenging thing for the routine drivers as it hinders the regular and monotonous life works.

  4. Topeka Towing Service

    I have a few guys that would love to cruise around in those!! I imagine there are a few of those out in west Kansas but we don’t see anything that larger around here. Of course I hope we don’t see enough snow that we would need them!

  5. John

    Nice post and this post is really informative for me.

    The friendliest drivers I have ever met. Had to have them come out multiple times in 4 days and they were so considerate every time. Chris (driver 27) was super understanding and explained everything thoroughly. Will definitely request Best Towing each time. I want to highly recommended for this.

    Thanks for this nice post….

  6. Andrew

    Good Post!

    Quite interesting and engaging information. You give readers a lot to think about UDOT tow plows. I really appreciate that kind of writing. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful.

    I really like that, thank you so much!

  7. Paul

    Them rigs are nice! We don’t need anything that serious down here in Rock Hill SC… I would love to test drive one though, lol.

  8. Zach

    The capability of these trucks are amazing. We recently started a tow trucking service, but we never get enough snow to needs these. Regardless I bet these plow trucks take a little bit to get used.

  9. Visalia Roadside

    Hahaaa, all of this snow plowing business sounds pretty intense to me, in all honesty. I actually run a tow trucking biz myself, but never considered how ppl in other areas of the world have to deal with so much worse than me. Thanks for opening my eyes a bit!

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