Finding Traction During a Snow Plow Shortage

January 31, 2022

Staying Safe During the Snow Plow Shortage

 In any given year, winter weather is challenging enough. Regardless of what it looks like outside, we have places to go, and things to accomplish. With the growing snow plow shortages across the country, getting where you need to go is becoming an even bigger challenge—and risk. With winter in full swing and fewer services able to clear the roads, especially during unexpected storms, how can you stay on course when it’s covered with snow and neglect?

Where Have All the Snow Plows Gone?

The first question we must ask is, why is there a snow plow shortage in the first place? There isn’t one simple answer, but there are a few contributing factors that have left roads unattended even during the worst weather.

Soaring Gas Prices

Gas prices are already high and only getting higher. This additional operation cost makes it difficult for independent contractors to keep up with overhead, causing fewer streets and square mileage covered. Main streets that would normally be plowed and treated 3-4 times in a day during heavy winter weather may only be cleared once, if at all.

 Manpower, or Lack Thereof

Worker shortages are on the rise, affecting nearly every industry. In 2021, a record number of commercial drivers either quit or retired, and numerous commercial driving schools have shut down. Finding qualified drivers is already difficult, but the high demand of commercially licensed drivers sees many professionals taking higher paying jobs. Lower average salaries for bus drivers and snow plow operators make it difficult to compete with other commercial driving opportunities.

The Pandemic

Covid-19. We’re tired of talking about it, and you’re probably sick of hearing it, but that doesn’t change the large ripple effect the current pandemic has had on nearly every aspect of life, from supply chain issues to trips to the grocery store, all the way down to remote work and school for extended periods of time.  Covid has had a huge impact on the supply chain, making it difficult to get the parts and equipment needed to maintain plows and other response vehicles. It has also caused worker shortages as some have contracted the virus, others refuse vaccine mandates and many are seeking more lucrative opportunities that have resulted from a higher demand for qualified, experienced drivers across the board.

How Do We Get Where We Need to Go?

So now that we know why there’s a shortage, what can we do to make traveling safer for you and the other drivers? The easy answer is stay home but for most of us, this simply isn’t an option. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take precautionary steps to assist in our travels.

Slow Down

This one should be obvious, but the single most important thing a driver can do in inclement weather is to take it slow. Plan ahead, leave a little earlier and take your time. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race—or at least lets you finish it.

Add Weight

Putting additional weight on the back axle of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle adds more grip, even in snowy or muddy conditions. Adding sandbags, kitty litter or other heavy items in your trunk or truck bed will put more weight on your vehicle’s power axle for a little more traction.

Get Traction Chains for Your Tires

A good set of tire chains will last for years and provide a considerable increase in traction, allowing your vehicle to grip a snow-covered road better. Depending on whether your car is rear-wheel, front-wheel or all-wheel drive, chains should be installed on the power axle wheels. Make sure you get the correct size for your specific tire for a proper fit, and practice installing them, so when the time comes you’ll be ready. Check out our video page for useful tips, demonstrations and step-by-step instructions for selecting and installing snow chains.

Winter won’t last forever, and hopefully neither will our current snow plow shortages, but being prepared for the road ahead can make sure you get where you need to go safely. We can help you get there. Find the right traction for your vehicle, no matter the size, from commercial and heavy-duty trucks, to compact cars and ATVs with our helpful traction tool and find your traction.