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.

Do you have an idea for a future post?  Please share it in this Padlet.

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6 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Good morning Doug!

    So after I read the title for your post in my email this morning, I started to write my comment in my head before I even read the post. I was going to go on about how although I had no statistical data recorded to support my assertion, I was fairly certain that this particular “Whatever happened to……” was going to be the first in which I had no clue as to what you were talking about.

    Tail gutters on snowplows? What?

    However, after I read your set up, but before reached the video, I had decided that I needed to include a link in my comment. You see, once you mentioned snowplows, my memory flew back in time to something that to this day brings a smile to my brother and I. Invariably, should we meet somewhere while driving our respective cars, and in doing so roll down our windows for a brief discussion, one of us is certain to utter, “How she going, Tex?” To which the other immediately replies, “Durn thing git stuck in the dad gum snow.“

    By the time I reached the video in your post and saw the animation style from the thumbnail, I wondered if you were sharing the same video. But as I played it, the memories came back. I remember the tailgunner one too. Just not nearly as clearly as the one for the Polarjet Highline Iceball Special.

    It was just yesterday that I was reenacting the conversation from the Peasants skit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail for my sons in the car, and appreciating how well continued recitation of something helps you to keep it firmly stuck in your memory.

    It’s nice that we have YouTube, and that folks share obscure stuff from television of days long past. From time to time I need to get the exact wording for something, because although the bulk of the dialogue, and the expression, and the cadence, and the accent tend to stick, sometimes I miss a word and it’s nice to be able to relive from the source as well as from the memory.

  2. Your questions really got me thinking here, Doug! It’s the commercial one that is on my mind now. Is the graphic nature the only way to make people take note? I’m really bothered by these types of commercials, and know that I would respond to ones that are far less graphic, but am I really the target audience here? The other day, I drove by a car that had obviously been in a terrible accident. It stopped me for a minute, and then I saw the sign, “Don’t Drive Drunk!” It worries me if we’re at a point where only the most graphic of images and messages get our attention. Curious to hear what others think.

    Thanks for always getting me thinking, Doug!
    Aviva

  3. I am afraid I don’t have any interesting stories about snowplows because I avoid snow as much as humanly (and as a citizen of Southern Ontario) possible. However, I did want to comment that I really enjoy this series. You are a world class wonderer, Doug! Cheers on this frosty morning. Stay out of the ditches today.

  4. I had forgotten about that commercial! Thanks for the umm… blast from the past, Doug! I was surprised that it did have a “violent” part. That part didn’t stick in my memory, but the “blue” light did! Sorry to hear of your incident! Here’s to more uneventful walks with the dog.. 🙂

    I had a good smile with Andrew’s comment too. I have searched youtube to confirm quotes and lines from TV shows and movies as well… just to be sure 🙂 A recent attempt was: “It’s cold enough out there to freeze your Winnebago!”

    Like Aviva, I have always wondered about how graphic a message needs to be to stick. I worry that it goes too far at times, especially in consideration of young children. I guess there might be individual differences in regards to what will “hit home”, but…

  5. Okay – no snow plow stories from me however I was interested in the ministry/department language. From my research (wikipedia and various provincial government websites): In Canada, five of the ten provincial governments use the term “ministry” to describe their departments (Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Alberta) but the other five, as well as the federal government, use the term “department”. Despite the difference in nomenclature, both the provincial and federal governments use the term “minister” to describe the head of a ministry or department. The specific task assigned to a minister is referred to as his or her “portfolio”.

    Since Transportation is a provincial responsibility we have a Ministry of Transportation in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, BC and Alberta but Department of Transportation in the other provinces. So even though New Brunswick has a Department of Transportation, it is led by the Minister of Transportation. Ontario’s Department of Transportation became a ministry in 1972. Not sure why.

    I have decided that I don’t ever want to spend another January in Ontario. It’s too cold even though we are as far south as possible. I want to be one of the snowbirds who head to warm weather for the winter months.

  6. Thanks, Lisa for the research. I was going to say that MTO has been MTO for as long as I can remember (and if the switch happened in ’72, that would make sense, as I was 6).

    Doug, I’m incredibly impressed that you got out of the ditch. We did some deep snow walking in Quebec City last week, and while the long-legged three made it look easy, shortlegged, somewhat heavier me ended up submerged to my thighs more than once, I am an expert at the inelegant roll out of deep snow,

    Seriously, who passes the freaking plow? Yes, it’s a hassle to be behind one, but on a snowy road, I’d much rather let the plow clear the way for me!

    I’d never seen the ad….and the tail gunner line made me giggle,

    As for YouTube and checking lines, there are a number of Robin Williams routines that are standard fare in this house, especially this one. https://youtu.be/2sUazVworSU

    Mr 14 can do it by heart, as well as I could do Python at his age.

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