Maryland Gears Up for a Snowy Winter

LAVALE, MD - The Maryland State Highway Administration says they start preparing for winter in July.

No matter what kind of equipment they drive, snow plow operators say safety is number one.

"A lot of these guys keep in the back of their mind that, 'hey that could be my wife on that road, or hey that could be my parents on that road', and we're trying to keep that road as safe as we can," says Todd DeWitt, a snow plow operator. "When it's nice is when you get public that recognizes what you do and how dangerous it is."

They're used to fighting low visibility.

"Sometimes you'll drive looking out the window, trying to see where the guardrail is and also looking ahead to make sure no one stopped in the lane in front of you," says Rick Cosner, a snow plow engineer.

"(It's) bad, real bad. Sometimes you can't hardly see maybe 50 feet in front of the plow," says Rob Shaffer, a snow plow operator.

Officials say last year was one of the easiest winters they can remember, and they're hoping their prediction for this year's is correct.

"A normal winter. Not less, not more," predicts Cosner.

And a normal winter in Allegany County means about 130 inches of snow.

These snow plow operators say their job is tough enough, let alone driving in white out conditions. They can't stress enough to drive safe.

"The number one rule; patience, slow down," reminds DeWitt.

"In Maryland, if you have a bad storm, you'll be able to get where you need to go the next day. Stay home, stay off the road," says Shaffer.

Otherwise, the Highway Administration says just remember, the road in front of a plow is usually worse than behind; so try to not pass one of their kind.

The State Highway Administration has real-time traffic cameras posted throughout Maryland. To take a look at the roads on your commute, check out their website.

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