5 Minutes With a Snowplow Driver
Samantha Kok explains the training needed to become a snowplow driver and shares why she loves her job
Snowplow driver Samantha Kok has worked in road maintenance for the City of Calgary for six years. In the tough prairie winters, Kok clears snow and sands the inner-city and arterial roads into downtown, helping make the commute safer for Calgarians.
What kind of training did you need to become a driver?
I have my Class 3 licence because the sander is an airbrake-equipped vehicle. The sander unit sits in the back of a dump truck, which has either a belly plow or front plow on. I’m trained in the operations of the sander unit itself – the controls of the material and distribution of it – and in the operation of the plow.
What is the difference between a belly plow and a front plow?
Front plows are on the front of the truck and make that giant arc of snow, so we don’t drive them downtown. Belly plows sit right under the middle of the truck and mostly tuck snow to the side.
What’s been your toughest winter?
Last winter was the most challenging because there was so much accumulation of snow. We had some chinooks, which helped, so that, in between snowfalls, there was space to tuck the snow and get it off the road. But we were running out of places to put it.
What’s the best part of your job?
When there’s a massive snowfall in the morning, I’m out there plowing away. At the end of the day – if it hasn’t snowed again – hopefully, I can see my route is clear and maybe even dry. I really feel like I’ve helped people out and made it safe.