Countdown to winter snow, ice: ‘Stay home, stay home’

He’s heard the familiar refrain of WTOP Traffic reporters and public works departments suggesting drivers stay off roads during snow and ice storms — a local plow operator is asking very nicely.

“Please. If you have nothing to do outside, because the weather is bad, stay home. Stay home,” says Santos Turcios, an equipment operator with the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation, during the agency’s yearly snow and ice dry run exercise, Friday morning.

Snow plow operator
Snow plow operators are urginig people to stay home when the weather gets bad. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

“We’re checking our roadways for any safety hazards — making sure potholes are filled, making sure we don’t that any steel plates, so that when winter weather is upon us, we can plow the roads safely,” said spokeswoman Paulette Jones, at the agency’s operations center, in Forestville, Maryland.

On a chilly October morning, crews put their large and small plows, loaders and transport vehicles through their paces, while reporting potential road hazards.

prince george's snow plow
On a chilly October morning, crews put their large and small plows, loaders and transport vehicles through their paces, well ahead of the snow season. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

“We all know that we’ve got those manholes in the road. Whenever we hit those manholes with a snow plow, it’ll wake you up,” said Turcios. “Trust me.”

Jones said the agency received 10 new 10-wheel plows to handle main roadways for this new season.

Asked if she anticipated problems finding enough drivers, similar to the challenges of school systems finding bus drivers, Jones said no.

“We have Maryland employees — a lot of them, we’re so thankful they’ve been here for many years, and we expect the same this snow season,” she said.

Jones did have an early request for residents: Plan for parking when the snow begins to fall.

“It doesn’t have to be on the right side, or the left side of the street — just on the same side side of the street,” Jones said. “Especially if it’s a narrow roadway, so that our vehicles are able to come down and plow the roadway.”

Turcios encouraged residents to put-off trips to the store during the early hours of a snow or ice storm.

“It gets dark and slippery, and we get all those accidents that we’re trying to avoid,” he said.

“We’re trying to help. Please stay home. And that will help us provide you with a better, safe, snow event.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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