Snow plow safety warning, or, how to total your truck
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Thread: Snow plow safety warning, or, how to total your truck

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    Snow plow safety warning, or, how to total your truck

    When I worked for the Navy my boss was plowing snow one night with the 87 Dodge W 350 when the blade caught a steel plate. It was maybe 1/4" thick, 5' wide, 20' long. Well, the blade picked it up and it took out the windshield, passenger door, mirror, and cab roof before he could get it stopped. Nearly totalled the truck. This happened on base, so travel speed was probably 10-15 MPH. Lucky for the mechanic he had just gotten out of the passenger seat.

    I used to hang my head out the window sometimes when plowing, that was the end of that practice. That steel plate would take a life. Something to keep in mind on those 32 hour shifts.

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    SulleyBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigger-digger 2320 View Post
    When I worked for the Navy my boss was plowing snow one night with the 87 Dodge W 350 when the blade caught a steel plate. It was maybe 1/4" thick, 5' wide, 20' long. Well, the blade picked it up and it took out the windshield, passenger door, mirror, and cab roof before he could get it stopped. Nearly totalled the truck. This happened on base, so travel speed was probably 10-15 MPH. Lucky for the mechanic he had just gotten out of the passenger seat.

    I used to hang my head out the window sometimes when plowing, that was the end of that practice. That steel plate would take a life. Something to keep in mind on those 32 hour shifts.
    Even though the speeds are slow, the damage and injuries can be severe. Such as using a plow which doesn't have the spring forward trip capabilities. A friend of mine modified a plow to fit a vehicle for which It was not designed and in the process, they welded two brackets for mounting support which prevented the tripping mechanism from working.

    While they left the trip springs and all in place and the plow appeared to have the ability to "trip", those brackets they welded in made the plow a solid structure without any ability to "spring forward". He was plowing a concrete drive which had an asphalt approach from the street and the scraper edge caught on a 1" concrete edge that the freezing and warming ground had caused to heave straight up.

    My friend slammed his chest into the steering wheel, cut his mouth as well as seriously bit his tongue and he fractured the thumb on the steering wheel hand. He hit his head on the door pillar post and had to be taken by ambulance to the ER. He was going no faster than 12 to 15 mph, but once that plow edge caught that concrete ridge, the truck came to a very abrupt stop.

    Safety first and that's why it is critical if you are modifying something to make sure that it's critical safety features remain functional.
    Bill Berger likes this.

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    That reminds me of another Navy plow incident. A guy was plowing sidewalks with a Cub Cadet and hit something, although not so bad, he got a bloody nose when he hit the windshield. Navy base was a dangerous place to work. I got hurt a few times, saw a couple men die.

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    Since it's "Bad Plow Story Time"... Back in the '70's I had a plow route, mostly fire roads and unoccupied estates and maybe a dozen driveways. I got the flu one storm and my buddy volunteered to do the route. I offered my '73 W200/8' Meyer plow, but he wanted to use his own International Travelall w/Fisher plow rig. No problem...

    On the very first dirt road he hit a worn down locust stump which tripped the blade (Fisher's trip ONLY the cutting edge, the moldboard stays vertical) he then caught a rock with the already tripped blade. 2 loose teeth, bloody nose and a trip to the ER. I took him to the hospital and then had to do the route myself anyway (cough, cough)... My Meyer plow always tripped on both obstacles, but it tripped the entire blade and the load of snow eased the blade back to vertical gently. Don't like Fisher plows regardless how well they are made.
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    A co-worker drives tow truck and related a call he responded to. A 3 ton plow truck was plowing and as he came up to a bridge he caught the side of the blade on the passenger side. Force of the impact spun the truck completely around 180* and it slammed sideways into the guardrail of the bridge and rolled right off dropping 50ft into the gorge below. Driver lived but was brain damaged and probably wished he hadn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    He was going no faster than 12 to 15 mph, but once that plow edge caught that concrete ridge, the truck came to a very abrupt stop.
    The forces in a low speed impact are surprising.

    For those that think they could prevent their face from hitting the wheel in a 5mph crash by bracing their arms against the steering wheel - try this:

    Climb onto a 1 story building, jump off the roof and land on your hands.

    If you can land on your hands and prevent your face from being driven into the ground - you can stop the forces from a 5mph impact.

    If not - well..... now you know
    -Scott-

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