‘Keep on plowing’: Auburn plow drivers keep roads clear for residents

Dale Smith is always alert. From the driver’s seat of his 27-ton city plow truck, his eyes bounce between watching what’s in front of him on the road and looking in his mirrors for what’s behind. He’s constantly monitoring the two 11-foot plow blades — one in front and one on the right side — that could slice a car in half if he isn’t careful.

Smith drives with his window rolled down, even though it’s February in Auburn. He said it keeps him alert and helps him hear what’s going on around him. He doesn’t listen to the radio, even though he can spend up to 16 hours alone in the plow’s cab on a snowy day.

“Know your surroundings at all time,” the city plow driver said as he cleared Auburn’s major roadways during Wednesday’s 6 inches of snowfall. “Know who’s on your left, know who’s on your right. Know when the light’s changing, know what the truck’s doing. You can’t get too comfortable. You always have to be alert.”

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