ODOT officials say the first day of snow for the season is always the worst for accidents.
“We’ve been driving all summer long with nice, good roads and everything,” said Lloyd MacAdams, ODOT District Deputy Director. “And then all of a sudden, bad weather hits, and we forget that we’ve got to slow down a lot.”
The plows are ready to hit the roads, inspected for safety and efficiency, but also aesthetically pleasing.
The plow blades are hand painted by art students from various high schools in Belmont County.
There’s a country mill snow scene with a sleigh ride going on, there’s a tribute to POWs and MIAs, and a whimsical “Cars” scene done by the Union Local Art Department.
“Over the summer, I happened to watch this movie for the first time–Cars II–and I loved it so much that when we went back to school, I asked the students how it would be if we do the Cars theme, and they unanimously said it would be perfect,” said Lisa Marple, Union Local’s art teacher.
Union Local students painted a plow last year too, and they often saw their art work going by on the highway.
“And honestly, it’s a big sense of accomplishment and it was just really great to pass it and say, I painted that!” said Megan Lattocha, senior.
ODOT officials say road salt is not a problem.
“Salt is more expensive than it has been in the past,” said Dave Schafer, Belmont County ODOT director. “But we are completely filled and our inventory capacity exceeds our annual average usage and we already have that on hand.”
And for the third year, they have those green, amber and white flashing lights on the trucks that are impossible to ignore.
“In fact, during the night, they’re almost too bright,” admitted MacAdam. “We’ve heard complaints from people driving in front of and behind our trucks, saying they’re almost blinding. So each of the trucks has a switch installed in them to turn that intensity down by 50%.”
You might say it’s a bit early to talk snow.
But they remember a snowfall that happened two weeks before Halloween.
So they’re prepared.