This week I had an interesting chat with Lakes District Maintenance’s (LDM) quality assurance manager Mike Philip, who has been working in the road maintenance business for approximately 20 years.
I was surprised to learn that some drivers have an urge to pass snow plow trucks at any cost.
This was confusing to me because whenever I’m out on the road during winter (which is not very often since winter driving terrifies me) and I find a plow truck in front of me, I feel immensely relieved.
I will happily drive behind that truck for miles, feeling like the luckiest guy on the road. Driving behind a plow truck is possibly the safest place to be if you’re driving on a snowy or icy day. So it’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that anyone would try to pass a plow truck when conditions are not ideal.
I understand that some people might be in a hurry, but it is winter and we are in northern B.C. after all. So apart from an occasional emergency, people should just give themselves lots of extra time to get to where they’re going.
Philip urged drivers to give plow trucks lots of room so that drivers can do their job safely and effectively.
I was just as surprised to find out that it’s not uncommon for people to approach plow truck drivers while they are getting coffee on their break to ask why they are not plowing roads.
“They have to take a break, they can’t drive 24/7, they need fuel too,” said Philip.
This made me laugh at first, but then I realized how it’s not uncommon for people to also approach me at grocery stores, cafes, or even while running on the gym’s treadmill with headphones on (the latter happened more than once) to talk about the newspaper – sometimes to discuss story ideas or to give a compliment, and other times to criticize something that they didn’t like reading.
When you have a job in the public eye, it’s part of the job to deal with this kind of situation. I’m sure it’s the same for politicians (but I hope it’s not the same for doctors; it would probably be really awkward to have a patient talking about an infection at a grocery store).
It’s also part of the job to face criticism. When asked about the complaints on the new Facebook page created to discuss road conditions, called ’Lakes District Hwy. 16 complaints and bouquets,’ Philip said all LDM can do is to keep doing the best they can.
What shouldn’t be a part of any job is facing threats or harassment, which Philip says sometimes occur.
“My family drive on these roads… we all want the roads to be safe,” he said.