MnDOT plow operators rely on training during winter

February 12, 2019 07:05 PM

Plow drivers have been out in full force over the last few weeks, and MnDOT says their training helps them stay sharp. 

MnDOT plows more than 30,000 miles across the state every year, and no matter how much experience drivers have they're always finding ways to get better. 


"To me, it was a typical snowstorm," said James Melson, a plow operator with MnDOT. 

Melson has 14 years of experience plowing. Over the years, he's only gained confidence while plow driving in tough conditions.

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"I think the comfort comes with seasons under your belt," Melson said. 

"This is kind of our bread and butter, we look forward to this every year," said Rick Shomion, Maintenance Training Coordinator with MnDOT. 

Shomion says all new operators have a two-week training period in the fall. But year-round, they work to stay refreshed on everything including snow and ice, when to put chemicals down and knowing every detail of your plow route.

"We train hard for it, we get prepared and once it comes we just got to hit the ground running to keep the roads safe," Shomion said. 

MnDOT's expertise has also been used in national training curriculum. 

"We've been doing training for a very long time and to be a contributer to the rest of the country which is great but we don't want to rest on our laurels either, we want to keep continuing to improve," Shomion said. 

No matter how much you dislike adverse driving conditions, there are people out there who embrace it to keep you safe. 

"Some people do dread winter, some people complain about winter-- I'm not that guy," Melson said."Your confidence goes up with every storm, things become more intuitive." 

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Brett Hoffland

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