Whatever happened to …


… tail gunners on snow plows?

This is a little departure from the usual Sunday morning post but I remember this from an incident that happened to me this week.

As a bit of background for those who have never been to Essex County.  It’s absolutely flat.  If you’re approaching on the 401, it starts just past Tilbury.  Not a hill in sight.  In fact, in our town, they’ve actually created a small hill so that people can go sledding.

In order to make sure that rain and melting snow goes away, there are drainage ditches dug on both sides of the roadways.  It does add increased importance for staying on the roadway.

Now, the dog and I walk on the road every morning.  It’s a Class B road which, among other things, means that there are very narrow shoulders.  We remember the rules from school that you always walk facing traffic so when we walk north, we’re facing the southbound traffic.  Many drivers are courteous and move over to give us room but there are times that we do have to head for the gravel shoulders for safety.  It’s generally not a problem.  The dog walks to my left so we just move over a bit to the left.

Like most of Ontario, we’ve had a great deal of snow lately and the prevailing winds have come from the west.  That often means that there are drifts that overhang the drainage ditch on the east side of the road.

There’s the setup for my story.

One morning, we’re out walking and heading north and we see a southbound snow plow coming at us.  Not wanting to be shoveled off the road, I turn and see that there is no traffic headed north on the other side of the road.  Ever the polite walkers, we cross the road to let the plow go by.  I keep glancing over my left shoulder to make sure that there’s no traffic coming – nothing in sight.

Then it happened.  There was a truck behind the snow plow that was headed our way.  The driver, being impatient, pulls out to pass the plow and ended up coming straight for us!  No problem, I think, we’ll just head for the shoulders.  I have to make sure that the dog is on the shoulder which pushes me even further to the right and … down!  I had stepped on the drift over the drainage ditch.

The truck passed us and I remember looking up and the dog looking down at me as if he was asking “What are you doing down there?”

How to avoid this in the future?  There are very few options short of not walking down the road!  Then, I remembered this commercial from the Ontario Government years ago.  This would have fixed that truck driver.

I had to smile as I rewatched it.  Would you see anything from the government like this these days?  Guns aimed at the public?

First of all, I’d never seen it in colour; we would have had a black and white television back then!

Secondly, who would have kept a copy of this commercial after all these years and uploaded it to YouTube?

Thirdly, we’ve come a long way in video production since then.

Fourthly, it’s a pretty straight to the point commercial.

Fifthly, it’s interesting the source – I think in terms of Ministries these days instead of Departments when I think of government agencies.

For a Sunday:

  • Do you have any interesting snow plow stories to share?
  • Shouldn’t dog walkers, cars, trucks, and snow plows all have equal and safe access to roads?
  • Do we really need the government creating such graphic commercials to educate a public that doesn’t use common sense?
  • Related to that, I’m sure that you have seen the latest Government of Canada video about “Don’t Drive High”.  It’s a much more modern approach incorporating social media but is even more graphic about the consequences.  It’s part of an initiative that you can visit here.  I’ve got to believe that it’s part of an education program that we’re going to see step up as we head towards the legalization of marijuana later this year.
  • When did the Ontario government move from Departments to Ministries?

I’d love to read your responses to this.  Please take a moment and share in the comments below.

This is part of a regular Sunday post called “Whatever happened to …”  With the new theme I’ve applied to the blog you have to click the Menu above to have it fly out or follow this link.

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OTR Links 01/07/2018

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