Howard County Police: Be Nice to Snow Plow Drivers

Citizens were reportedly berating plow drivers.

Howard County citizens were berating plow drivers, police said. (Credit: Patch File Photo)
Howard County citizens were berating plow drivers, police said. (Credit: Patch File Photo)
Talking down to a plow driver is not going to get anybody anywhere, except on Twitter.

The Howard County Police Department posted the following message to Twitter followers just before 2:30 p.m. Friday:

"A few angry residents reportedly berating plow drivers. Employee safety is a priority in #HoCo. Don't let frustration get the better of you."

Citizens responded with mixed reactions, via Twitter.

"Instant gratification society. Ridiculous." —Hollis Burl

"The plows were also speeding down my street like madmen." —Tori Malone

"...all due respect. The drivers should do a better job. My neighborhood is an absolute mess, so are surrounding streets. Bad job." —Brian Rhude

"Not plow operators' fault. Management to blame." —Jackie McNamara

"Unbelievable yet believable. Tell those residents to invest in their own snow plow if they have so much time on their hands." —Alicyn

"They have so much time on their hands because they weren't able to get out due to the roads not being plowed." —Ian Jett

Roads were 75 percent clear in Howard County by Friday morning, but county officials reported "progress will be slow" due to the heavy, wet snow.

Related: Second Round of Snow Set HoCo Plowing Back Slightly
John Hendrix February 15, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Those residents that were rude to plow operators ought to have their streets kicked to the back of the line next time. Better yet, leave their streets unplowed to free up resources.
Candace February 15, 2014 at 08:36 AM
SHAME ON THESE PEOPLE FOR BERATING PLOW DRIVERS!!! They have the plow. You don't. You need help getting around. They are already out and about. Get the picture? These people are working overtime with very little rest to remove 12 inches or more of snow. 12 INCHES not 2 inches. That's a lot of snow. And if you were blessed to have up to two feet like some areas it will take a bigger plow to get that out of the way. If they are behaving poorly, that's wrong but you are not the authority to correct them. At least not while they're trying to dig you out. Sometimes you have to suck it up and take your frustrations out some other way, some other time. If you have a complaint, save it for later. For now, STFU!!! #choosecivilty
Anna February 15, 2014 at 08:50 AM
I POLITELY trying to get my driver's attention by waving and hallowing but he ignored me. He has pushed a great wall of snow from my cul de sac into my driveway and OVER the sidewalk I had already cleared. It is four or so feet high and five feet thick and about 20 feet long. There is no way I can move it. It's a virtual Berlin Wall. Am I supposed to be happy about that?
Skye Anderson February 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM
I am amazed at how much Howard County residents complain instead of doing something about it appropriately. When it snows, it takes a while to clear the snow! There is a limited number of plows and drivers. Perhaps those complainers could donate more money to the appropriate department so we can have more plows and drivers.
brilliantviolet February 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM
while I didn't complain - I'm too polite for that - they did do a horrible job in my parking lot. They plowed it during the first round of snow (well before it was over) and never came back which was pretty worthless. They were tearing through the area when little kids were out playing. They also completely plowed one particular person in for some reason. They couldn't have known this but she is elderly and unable to shovel herself out. So now I am un-plowing her car....
Steve Mitchell February 15, 2014 at 04:26 PM
People, if you aren't happy call the county. They will take care of the issue. The drivers are under tremendous stress right now so give them a break. And yes, they are not perfect, but neither are you.
Steve Mitchell February 15, 2014 at 04:27 PM
Oh, and I bet all the ones berating the drivers have "choose civility" magnets on their cars.
Harlan February 16, 2014 at 07:08 AM
The plowmen were working hard and I do appreciate it. This is why I bought a great snow blower so that, after they've finished clearing the street (which is one whole heck of a lot wider and longer than my driveway), I fire up the snow blower and clear out the pile of snow they left blocking my driveway. Works for me, works for them.
Mike A. February 16, 2014 at 07:49 AM
I have 2 thumbs up for the fellas that plowed my neighborhood in. Elkridge. While nobody likes to have the driveway pushed shut it is the price you have to pay for having the road opened up. The snow, whether 4 inches or 14 inches needs to be moved someplace!
howardruthalliejoey February 16, 2014 at 08:38 AM
The guy who plowed our street after the 10 inch round of snow was totally awesome - very complete job, sensitive to people's driveways, etc. The court was practically free of ALL snow by the time he left. Absolutely nothing but good words to say about the job he did. Also, he was there at 10 in the morning, which was much more than we expected, being on a one block long cul-de sac street! Give the plowers some credit for a change.
William H. Wilson February 16, 2014 at 09:01 AM
I have no problem with the snow plow drivers. That's why I have the biggest snow blower I could afford capable of handling any pile of snow left in my driveway. It works great and no shoveling.
Pam Hamburg February 16, 2014 at 10:22 AM
To the ones who complain: Do like I did, move to a condo (mine is detached) and have it done for you. Not a perfect solution, but better than me doing it. Clear driveway, clear sidewalks, privately plowed streets.
Anna February 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM
Sorry, but at 75 with disabilities I am not capable of using a huge snowblower. My driveway being plowed in is expected. The wall of snow pushed over the sidewalk (huge ice chunks) and the guy on the little plow who further exacerbated the situation by plowing even more snow onto the pile are missing either goodwill, direction, or common sense. Please county, come and clear this mess. It's about four feet high and comprised of ice chunks. Nature did not do this. Human error must have done.
AML February 16, 2014 at 11:10 AM
To all of you whining cry babies out there....SUCK IT! Where are these plow drivers supposed to push the snow? I suppose you want them to stop plowing when they come to your driveway, well that's not how it works. They keep pushing snow from the street to the side of the roads and TFB if it blocks your driveway that you just cleared. Clear it again! Maybe you should clear 30 feet of the road before your driveway so it won't get plowed in. The snow is an act of GOD not Howard County plow operators so maybe GOD is trying to tell you something.
Noreen Dalisera February 16, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Plow drivers have one of the most thankless jobs; there are alot of roadways in Maryland and when you get this much, wet, heavy snow and freezing rain on top of that, it takes time to clear them. In my neighborhood there are several of us, on several streets that every year the plows don't even come close to out curbs and mail boxes as they do the other homes and instead of getting mad we simply get our shovels out and shovel the slush and snow. Can you imagine how long it would take to clear the roadways if the had to make sure that every driveway was cleared too? I want to give a shout out to the postal workers who are out there delivering the mail in these conditions: they are delivering to people whose mail boxes are not cleared which they don't have to deliver to them (honestly, mine is usually one of them; I have back issues and do what I can). When it is absolutely not safely accessible and you aren't getting your mail, put a hold on your mail and pick it up at the post office. So a big thank you goes out to the Road Crews and Postal Workers!
leo schwarz February 16, 2014 at 01:34 PM
They did a great job on my street
Alphadog February 18, 2014 at 09:56 AM
I have lived in many areas of the country where snow is expected as part of life in the winter. The practice of the plows leavign a swath of snow and ice chnks at the endo of peoples driveways and onto the sidewalks is unheard of in other parts of the country. I am sure that if the plow drivers were expected to be more careful and considerate and take the appropiate amout of time to clear snow properly this problem would not occur. Perhaps there should be a penalty for plow drivers who block driveways and obsruct sidewalks and thus create unsafe conditions for residents. Lets see a local politican step up and introduce a bill proposing these penalties!
Pam Hamburg February 18, 2014 at 01:55 PM
Erm, I realize it's a problem. But...WHERE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO PUT ALL THE SNOW? I remember a large snow in my neighborhood years ago. We were bringing our little girl home from Hopkins and couldn't make it up our driveway. Snow plow guys were there and saw our problem. She was too sick to walk and too heavy to carry. They spread cinders all the way up the driveway to give us traction. We never even knew their names. An act of simple kindness that meant everything to us.
Alphadog February 18, 2014 at 02:34 PM
They are not supposed to put the snow in front of peoples driveways or on the side walks or pile it up so it blocks the view in an intersection. There are many places to put snow other than those listed above. It may take a bit more time and perhaps some skill.There are also pieces of equiptment called fron end loaders that can be used in conjunction with dup trucks...load the trucks with snow and take it to a fleid and dump it!! Done all the time in the midwest and up north!!
Skye Anderson February 18, 2014 at 03:10 PM
Rather than a lot of possible misinformation it would be good to have the facts from the snowplow department as to whether 'they are not supposed to put the snow in front of peoples [sic] driveways. . . . ' etc. I too have lived in parts of the country with a lot of snow and have always had to shovel out after the snowplows come by. Not all jurisdictions truck the snow away - they merely turn a 4-lane road into a 2-lane road. And many localities have a 4-hour time frame after the snow stops in which sidewalks must be cleared (i think here it is 24 or 48 hours?) Snowplows have their priorities and those are the main roads. Perhaps those who cannot afford to move south or cannot afford a snowblower or who cannot shovel might trade services or befriend a neighbor who can assist them. Perhaps those folks could bake cookies on a regular basis or babysit in exchange for snow removal. And it is the neighborly thing to do to help out our neighbors. I shovel religiously (I like doing it!) in front of all our neighbors and have, for the past 25 years here. I don't think anyone has thanked me though.
AML February 18, 2014 at 06:37 PM
Pam Hamburg February 18, 2014 at 09:42 PM
Yes, it would be nice, however, that won't happen. The men and women who plow our streets are often on the job 24/7, except for sleeping. My best friend's husband plowed streets for over 30 years for Howard Co. There were times she did not see him for days. Could anyone do that or choose to do that? Not me, that's for sure. Theirs is a hard and thankless job. I know driveways get plowed in...I can't count the number of times mine was. I agree, Skye. No one ever even offered to dig me out. I had to handle that myself, especially after my husband died. Snowplows' main number 1 priority during a big snow is to keep the main roads open. Not my own cul de sac, though all of my crews thruout 25 years of residence had us plowed out, at least one lane, within 24 hours. These dedicated folks earned my eternal gratitude. Yes, there are crazy time frames that are not suitable at all during a big snow storm. This is one of the many reasons why my husband and I moved out of our municipality 25 years ago and relocated to the county only. The blizzard of 1978/79 was just a warning to us, but we were very young then. Our home was on a corner, a ton of sidewalk, front and side and our driveway. I am not surprised no one has ever thanked you, Skye, whether they are 20 or 70 years old. Hell, a cup of hot coffee would even go a long way. What a world.
Dean Smith February 19, 2014 at 09:00 AM
I understand that snow plows have to initially focus on main roads. That’s why I told me neighbors the evening the precipitation ended to be patient and to not clear their driveways all the way to the street until our street is clear of snow. As a result, a couple of us waited until the majority of the road was clear with was around 11.00 PM and cleared the snow completely from our driveways and in front of our mailboxes. However, the snow plows made additional passes on our street around 2.00 and 4.00 the next morning which I felt did more harm than good by plowing large chucks/blocks of hard snow in front of our driveways and mailboxes. As a result, snow blowers and shovels were useless that morning in getting rid of these large chucks/blocks of hard snow. Since I am in good shape/health, I look at this as a trip to the gym so as a result, even though it was an inconvenience, I waited later that morning so I could break the large chucks/blocks of hard snow then hand carried them into my yard so I could get to work. I also helped adjacent neighbors, who are in poor and rely on snow blowers, with their driveways.
Alphadog February 19, 2014 at 09:20 AM
There is no reason at all for the plows to leave large piles of hardended snow and ice boulders at the endo fo driveways blocking people in. The plow drivers could mange to take a bit of time and help clear the snow from infront of driveways. This is common practice in other parts of the country. I would like to see leglislation enacted that fines snow plow operators and contractors if they block your driveway or sied walks or create safety hazzards. Their rude behavior is inexcuseable
Skye Anderson February 19, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Alphadog, are you ready for your taxes to increase to accommodate this? And to wait longer for the arterials to be plowed? I have lived all over the country and have never seen plows NOT plow in driveways or parked cars.
Alphadog February 19, 2014 at 10:03 AM
I am ready for people already employed by the taxpayers to do their job, and to do thier job correctly. I don't know where you may be lived but I have never , ever seen plow operators leave wides swaths of snow and ice in front of driveways in other areas of the country. Why are you trying to rationalize that is ok for any public servant or contractor to a public entity to do a lousy job?
leo schwarz February 20, 2014 at 03:18 PM
Guess you've never lived in Baltimore. On my cul de sac their was a dozer moving large amounts of snow and a pickup truck clearing snow from driveways. They didn't clear every morsel of snow but enough so that with little effort I could get onto the street. If the county did the job some people expect them to have done lot of more people would've been complaining because it would've taken three times as long. Folks, either clear your driveway, hire someone, or, if you are able bodied clear your driveway and and do the neighborly thing and clear a neighbors driveway who may not be able to. Geeshh. Quite whining.
Pam Hamburg February 20, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Agreed, leo! QUIT WHINING and figure it out! I've lived in Balt. City, Balt, Co., and Carroll Co. I am almost 61 years young and I DID IT. ALONE for 10 years after my husband died. Do it yourself...I have. HIRE SOMEONE when I no longer could do it myself! Work with your neighbors (they just may surprise you). Don't be in such a freakin rush and let the plows do their jobs, which is usually in the wee hours. STAY home unless you are essential personnel. Take a personal day, postpone your stupid errands, whatever. Take a walk and enjoy the snow and watch the kids have fun. Good Lord! Chill OUT! No one died! Most of all, use the common sense that God gave you (hopefully He did give you common sense).
Pam Hamburg February 20, 2014 at 10:22 PM
Yes, Skye...even in Westminster, Carroll County, folks who shovel out their cars parked on the street put chairs or something our to save their parking place that they slaved to clear. Takes care of the lazy slackers, who probably don't even clean off their roofs, etc., and let the snow blow off on the drivers behind them.


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