The winter of 2022-23 won’t be INDOT’s first rodeo when it comes to dealing with snow and ice, but for rookie plow drivers, this year was their first Roadeo.
In early December, INDOT put together Roadeos — snowplow competitions that mimic real situations and use parked cars, barrels, cones, or other obstacles to test driving maneuvers.
“The Roadeo was a good opportunity for training, to have our seasoned staff with younger staff members, and show that we’re investing in them,” said Fort Wayne District Highway Maintenance Director Brad McNair. “The Roadeo simulated real-world situations so that the drivers know how to respond appropriately.”
The Roadeo included maneuvering plow trucks and blades through obstructions such as sidewalks, curbs, parked cars, and barrels to practice avoiding them. Backing maneuvers helped prepare the drivers not only for Winter Operations, but also for any work-zone backing. Also, the Roadeo emphasized walkaround inspections of the heavy equipment to ensure machinery meets our standards.
“Without the Roadeo or any form of skills course, the only time a driver’s abilities are assessed is when they are on the road performing the mission,” said Greenfield District Highway Maintenance Director Szewczak. “That is the wrong time for our drivers and the motoring public. We are committed to continuous improvement; the Roadeo is just one of many steps.”