Snow plow drivers test skills before winter season - FOX 10 News |

Snow plow drivers test skills before winter season

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ADOT is getting ready for snowy and icy roads in northern and eastern Arizona. Their job is to keep the roads open and safe to drive during a snowstorm.

And that's no easy task, as FOX 10's Diane Ryan found out. She got behind the big steering wheel of a training simulator.

During a Winter Readiness Event Wednesday, dozens of ADOT drivers took their turn testing their skills.

"It's to help you figure out what you are doing when you are plowing. Airlines, the government use it to train soldiers," says Mike Ripley, ADOT driver.

George Garcia inspected the snowplows one by one. There are 202 trucks on the roads, and 420 snowplow operators. It's not an easy job.

"I've been in storms up to 2 feet before. They are pretty heavy. Highways closing themselves up," says supervisor George Garcia.

Whiteouts are the worst for snowplow drivers. But there are other obstacles.

"It can be pretty scary out there on the freeway with all the heavy truck traffic. People are not used to driving in the snow. That's one hazard you have to deal with," says Garcia.

The simulator helps them make better decisions by preparing them for real-life situations on snow-packed and icy roads.

You really couldn't take your eyes off the road.

The snowplow drivers work long hours when it snows -- 12 hour shifts. If you are driving behind a snowplow, always stay a couple of car lengths behind.

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