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Ever better to not plow?

Discussion in 'ATV / UTV Snow Removal' started by timinnc, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. timinnc

    timinnc Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I've just moved to a new house in the mountains of western NC. Knowing I'd have to make it out to work during the winter, I bought a ATV w/ a Swisher plow set up. It works great.

    The road up to my neighborhood is paved with a decent grade. The county trucks, I've learned, do not come around to plow. So, given the plow setup I have, I've taken it upon myself to plow the 1/2 mile or so leading up to my neighborhood. It's this 1/2 mile where the road grade starts to really pick up and traction in bad weather, from ice and snow, becomes the hardest.

    Well, I received my first reprimand from an old-time local this morning. I'm plowing, she waves me down and tells me that she doesn't want me plowing the portion of paved road in front of her house. It's the same road I have to use to get to my house. She insists that "when it freezes tonight no one will be able to use it". Right now it's just barely above freezing and there is just a little slush beneath the 6 inches that were on the road. Bottom line, some people here believe it's better to leave some snow on the ground in order to gain traction.

    I could maybe understand this if you're going to be dealing with fresh, unpacked snow and you're "lucky" enough to be one of the first to drive on it. But this portion of the road is used by probably 2 dozen houses. It will get used, snow left on the road will get packed, and that packed snow will freeze tonight. The way I see it, if the slush is gonna freeze anyway, I'd rather have a thin layer of ice on the road than a 6" cake of ice. Remember, this part is paved, not gravel.

    I've seen this happen at the last snowstorm. The portion of the road above us, which I didn't plow last snow, was literally encased in inches of ice after the inches of unplowed snow partially melted then re-froze. The remnant snow from the portion I plowed still iced over, but it was a very thin layer and the road returned to normal days before the other unplowed road did.

    So the question is.....Is there a time when it is better to not plow and leave it on the road? Is my logic off in some way? The last thing I want is to make things worse. Thanks.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
  2. carkey351

    carkey351 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    in short...NO! there is a reason for plows and that is to get rid of the snow. I'll take and skinned layer of ice before 6inches of junk...It's your plow and you pay taxes on the same road so she can just take a leap! just my opinion...
  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    There is really no reason to NOT plow paved roads/drives. If the temps are anywhere near freezing and it is sunny, should melt off nice.
  4. Reb

    Reb Senior Member
    from Wyoming
    Messages: 136

    There are different ways of viewing this and everyone will have their own opinion which isn't necessarily totally right or wrong. Plus different conditions in different areas will change what is right or wrong.

    In this area the county plows only plow once in the morning and unless a base of packed snow is built up on the road they will hold their blade up off the road an inch or two. Holding the blade up is partially due to saving wear and tear on the blade and road but part of it is its a lot easier to drive on packed snow than shear ice so fewer cars end up in the snow bank.

    Try holding your blade up a couple inches while plowing the road, see what difference that makes in the road conditions. I plow the county road where my driveway connects so the county doesn't leave a big build up in my driveway. Over the years I have found that if I leave a bit of build up I end up pulling fewer cars out than if I cut it down clean.

    Again, different conditions like average temps. will change what is right or wrong.
  5. timinnc

    timinnc Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    Thanks for the replies.

    Yeah, I have to say the last thing I expected when doing the neighborhood a favor was getting chewed out by one of the neighbors I thought I was helping.

    I think part of the "logic" behind this lady's thought process is most everyone here drives a 4x4 truck or SUV. If I drove a 4 wheel drive, I'd probably want a base layer as well. I, on the other hand, drive a FWD car with snow tires. I could probably handle a 1-2" base layer, but more than that and it's gonna hurt me more than help.

    I just finished plowing the neighborhood gravel road an hour ago. For that I do keep the plow about 2" above ground level out of necessity. I might consider using that setting for the paved road if the snowfall has come to end. At the time of plowing this morning, there was already 4" on the ground and we were forecasted for (and received) 6-8" since. Leaving a base layer at that time would have only added 2" to what would have been 6+" more.

    Again, thanks for your input and keep them coming if you got an opinion. The last thing I need is to get the reputation as the guy who contributed to someone sliding into the ditch. Thanks.


    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,619

    in all honesty they have been there for years maybe they know something you don't.

    lift your blade and get a 4x4 theres your excuse to get one the neighbor told ya too
  7. mycirus

    mycirus Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 589

    I would plow as much snow as I could just in front of her house and say here is your traction lady. Then clean everything else.
  8. timinnc

    timinnc Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I know. Believe me, I'd LOVE to buy a new 4x4. The only problem is that the older I get, the more I analyze and think things through. Damn the whole maturity process!

    For the 1% of the time that I really needed a 4x4, I would feel like a hero. The problem is, the 99% of the time that the weather is good, I'm commuting, etc., and I don't need it, I'd be cursing the decision because of the poor MPG and overall higher cost involved.

    But you're right. It is a good excuse! I might just suffer from a temporary lapse of judgment soon and go purchase a new Rubicon....
  9. MtnCowboy

    MtnCowboy Member
    Messages: 96

    I doubt North Carolina is as screwed up as Washington state. But I live in the latter and therefore my concerns would be twofold: (1) Can/would the local public authority come after me for "unauthorized maintenance" of a public right-of-way; (2) can an individual come after me with a claim that my plowing caused a condition, such as icing, that subsequently resulted in damage to their vehicle or person?
  10. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,132

    The problem I see is, he already mentioned that the county does not plow the road. I would clean it up and drop some salt down and be done.

    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,619

    how it sucks to get old,

    when i was a kid i spent every cent, kinda had too seeing as i had kids as a kid haha

    but now i am older, wtf happened, i dont even want to buy parts for my sled anymore haha,

    i just say tommorrow will be a better day to spend, dam taxes

    STIHL GUY Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 663

    try it the way the old neighbor said and if it works keep doing it that way and if not just do it your way
  13. RobE

    RobE Junior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 29

    Buy a newer Subaru. The '10+ Legacy and Outback wtih the 4 cylinder get 31 mpg on the highway and with AWD they are excellent in the snow. If it wasnt for my plow truck, thats what I would be driving.
  14. 450foreman04

    450foreman04 Junior Member
    Messages: 17

    I would call the county and complain. I definately would not plow the road myself. In my area, you would probably get a fine for plowing the road. Also, as someone else mention, you could be sued by someone. It's kind of sh!tty, but sometimes you just cant be a nice guy.
  15. jmbones

    jmbones Senior Member
    from NE PA
    Messages: 236

    Yes, sometimes it IS better NOT to plow, IF you have a salting application or no one uses the road until after the storm :)
  16. ScubaSteve728

    ScubaSteve728 Senior Member
    Messages: 459

    It may be illegal to plow and a liability to The town. If I were you I would just lower the skid shoes so the blade is always about a half inch off the road surface. Then you would have less wear on the blade. You could easily remove the shoes to scrape your driveway.