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Tow Plow Operators Training. Tow Plow. Trailer snow plow designed to be towed with a truck and standard plow configuration 25’ clearing path with a 12’ front plow Improve services by: Providing faster results Reducing cost for equipment, fuel and labor. Contact Time.

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tow plow
Tow Plow
  • Trailer snow plow designed to be towed with a truck and standard plow configuration
    • 25’ clearing path with a 12’ front plow
  • Improve services by:
    • Providing faster results
    • Reducing cost for equipment, fuel and labor
contact time
Contact Time
  • 12 total contact hours (required)
    • 8 hours
      • Classroom, hands-on and closed driving course
    • 4 hours
      • Dry-run (pre-winter)
      • Experienced operator will drive to demonstrate proper procedures
      • New operator will drive and be evaluated by experienced operator
      • Checklist to be completed
  • During storm check ride (optional)
    • No set amount of contact time
      • As required by supervisor
      • Experienced operator will drive to demonstrate proper procedures
      • New operator will drive and be evaluated by experienced operator
      • Release to operate the Tow Plow on decision of experienced operator
      • Checklist to be completed during check ride
course objectives
Course Objectives
  • Identify Tow Plow key components
  • Identify all safety hazards, terms and labels
  • Perform a pre and post-trip inspection
  • Describe preventative maintenance
  • Identify and become familiar with all in-cab operator controls
  • Demonstrate on a closed course the safe and proper Tow Plow operating procedures
  • This training will focus on standard configuration
  • There are many different configurations based on district specific orders
    • Tow Plows may be outfitted with on or more of the following:
      • 1000 gallon liquid chemical tank
      • 8 cubic yard spreader
    • Become familiar with your Tow Plow
    • Train with equipment to be used
    • Train in area that the operator “typically” will be assigned to
  • Become familiar with all operating characteristics prior to operation during a winter event
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Must be able to see the Tow Plow
    • Clean windows
    • Clean mirrors
    • In-cab adjustable mirrors
    • Supplemental night lighting
safety and warning labels
Safety and Warning Labels
  • Become familiar with all safety warnings and labels
    • Replace labels when:
      • Damaged
      • Not legible
  • In addition, become familiar with additional equipment on the Tow Plow including:
    • Spreader
    • Liquid chemical tank(s)
lockout tagout
Lockout / Tagout
  • All employees shall follow MoDOT’s

lockout/tagout procedures prior to

performing any work on the Tow Plow

  • Control of hazardous energy shall be complied with under Section 2.7 The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout / Tagout)
  • Follow manufacturer’s procedures
    • Tow Plow
    • Accessory equipment installed on the Tow Plow
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the inspection and maintenance schedules
  • Hydraulic fluid level on tow vehicle
  • Inspect tires for damage, proper inflation and that all lug nuts are in place and have not become loose
  • “STAY BACK 100 FEET” sign installed on rear of Tow Plow
  • All safety and warning labels are in place and legible
inspections continued
Inspections Continued
  • Visually inspect all hydraulic hoses and connectors for wear, damage, and leaks
  • Check all cables, chains, and sheaves for excessive wear and damage
  • Visually inspect all plow and wing units
    • Inspect cutting edge and shoes for excessive wear
    • Do not allow cutting edge to wear down into the mounting angle on the mold board
inspections continued1
Inspections Continued
  • Inspect mounting arms for excessive rust, damage, cracks in welds or bent and broken sections
  • Inspect mounting holes on the arms and lugs for excessive wear
    • Mounting holes greater than 3/16” clearance are to be repaired
  • Dump air from the brake storage tanks on tow vehicle and the Tow Plow to remove excessive moisture and ensure that the system air pressure returns and does not leak
  • Add air brake drier to brake system to prevent air brake freezing during extremely cold weather
  • Grease all required components
    • All plow harness sheave nipples
    • All hydraulic pump drive shaft nipples
    • Front and rear tower sheaves and swivel blocks
    • Wing extension arm nipples
    • Front and rear tower guide tracks
    • All front harness pivot points
    • Check for loose or missing fasteners (nuts, bolts, cotter pins, lock rings, etc.)
  • Follow lubrication procedures for the Tow Plow and accessory equipment, such as spreaders
  • Refer to the owner’s manual for specific intervals
hydraulic set up
Hydraulic Set-up
  • Check hydraulic set-up prior to use
    • System pressure should be 2300 psi
    • Set hydraulic trims/flow for steering and mold board operation
  • Ensure that Tow Plow response is:
    • Consistent
    • Smooth
    • Not too slow (may reduce reaction time for obstacles)
    • Not too fast (could cause handling issues and damage)
    • Include operator to ensure response is adequate to the operators preference and needs
  • Standard Configuration
    • Connection of hydraulics and liquid chemicals for spreaders and liquid tanks may vary
    • Refer to your experienced Tow Plow operator or District General Services for additional requirements
  • Attach Tow Plow to tow vehicle pintle hitch
  • Pintle receiver locked
  • Raise landing gear into full up position and handle stored in tow position
  • Air brake lines/glad hands connected (no leaks)
  • Connect Tow Plow safety chains
  • Connect plow lift hydraulic circuit
  • Connect steering hydraulic circuit
  • 7 wire trailer plug installed and all Tow Plow lights operational
  • 6 wire plug installed and all operator lights are operational
  • Inspect all lighting for damage and proper operation
operational preparation
Operational Preparation
  • Ensure brakes are released and not frozen
    • Gently pull against the Tow Plow with brakes released to ensure brakes are not frozen
  • Remove mold board lock pins
    • Stand behind mold board
    • Start at center pins working out
  • Installing mold board lock pins
    • Install for transport or when deployment is not required for extended duration
    • Stand behind mold board
    • Start with outside pins and work to center
operational check
Operational Check
  • Perform operational check prior to leaving maintenance facility
  • Steering (deployment and retraction)
    • Steering wheels move freely through full stroke of activating cylinder while moving forward
  • Mold board (up and down)
    • Determine that the mold board moves freely from full up to full down
deployment retraction
Deployment / Retraction
  • Visually check to ensure that the Tow Plow is clear of traffic
  • Do not deploy or retract while stopped to prevent damage to the Tow Plow’s tires
  • Full deployment is not required to operate
    • Deploy to any desired position
    • Always deploy to a position that will clear all obstacles
    • Deployment (steering) and mold board functions (up and down) can be performed at the same time if desired
low visibility
Low Visibility
  • Always retract the Tow Plow in low visibility conditions
  • Always have plenty of sight distance
  • Give yourself time to react and retract the Tow Plow for:
    • Stalled/stopped vehicles
    • Pedestrians
    • Roadway hazards
    • Obstacles
    • Guard rails, bridge ends and signs
  • When in doubt, pull in the Tow Plow
  • Use Tow Plow deployment to “steer” while negotiating tight turns
    • Left turns with right hand Tow Plows
    • Right turns with left hand Tow Plows
  • Avoid turns that require you to stop and back up
  • If retracted to tow position during turns, raise the mold board
  • Can be left in deployed position with mold board down and adjusted for obstacles to clear larger intersections
pre trip inspection
Pre-trip Inspection
  • Before each use:
    • Make sure that all nuts and bolts are in place and properly tightened
    • Make sure that all other fasteners are in place and are performing their specified function
    • Make sure all safety signs are in place, clean, and legible
    • Replace any damaged parts or excessively worn parts
    • Inspect for damage to any part of the plow mold board or push frame
      • Examples include broken or worn bolts or pins, cracked welds, bent sections, and/or excessive rusting
    • Inspect for damage to trip mechanisms, such as broken springs, cracked welds, and worn or broken bolts
    • Check all hoses for cuts, cracks, and leaks
    • Dump air from air brake reservoir to remove any moisture
plowing operations
Plowing Operations
  • Always try to position the Tow Plow in lanes that keep the plow farthest away from obstacles, such as guardrails, signs, etc.
  • Position the Tow Plow based on type of operation and configuration of the plows
    • Single operation
      • Plow two lanes as best as possible
      • Plow center turn lanes
    • Gang operation
      • Have enough plows to cover shoulder to shoulder
      • Utilize single plow trucks for clearing shoulders and ramps
      • Have single plow run shoulders next to guard rails
gang plowing
Gang Plowing
  • Try to position the crown of the road between the tow vehicle and the Tow Plow
  • For clearing first priority (high volume) routes, operational speeds should be within the following:
    • Safe for conditions present
    • Safe for traffic volume and conditions
    • Reduce spacing appropriately for limited visibility
    • Paced so that multiple gang trucks do not become separated
    • Spaced so that traffic may not pass between the gang plows
starting operations with a gang
Starting Operations with a Gang
  • Communication is key
    • Ensure all operators know the procedures to be used
    • Ensure that all operators know their position in the gang
    • Enter traffic at speeds that are safe and allow the gang to stay together
plowing operations1
Plowing Operations
  • Plowing heavy snow loads may require adjusting plow / truck position
    • Snow loads may suddenly decrease and allow the plow to skew back to it original position, such as clearing snow under bridges and overpasses
    • Tow may strike guardrail and other roadside devices when it returns to its normal position after the heavy snow load is released
  • Plowing aggregate shoulders
    • Raise mold board 2” to 4” above ground
emergency stopping
Emergency Stopping
  • Maintain a safe distance from traffic in front of you
  • The Tow Plow is equipped with ABS braking system
  • Brake as you normally would
  • The procedure for stopping a trailer skid is:
    • Recognize the trailer skid by seeing it in your mirrors
    • Check mirrors anytime you brake hard to make sure the trailer is staying where it should be
    • Once the trailer swings out of your lane it is hard to prevent a jackknife
    • Stop using the brakes to get traction back
    • Do not use the hand brake (this will cause the trailer to continue to skid)
    • Once the wheels start to grip the road again, the trailer will start to straighten out and follow the tow vehicle
    • If the Tow Plow is deployed during a skid, leave in the deployed position
  • There are two groups of lighting on the Tow Plow:
    • Work/warning
    • Operational (DOT)
  • Tow Plow lighting is connected to the truck via two separate trailer plugs:
    • 7 wire large plug for DOT vehicle lights
    • 6 wire plug for work and warning lights
laser guidance
Laser Guidance
  • Lasers can be used to determine Tow Plow position in relation to roadside obstacles
    • Can be helpful to determine Tow Plow position when fully extended
    • Mounted to the truck
    • Only represents full Tow Plow extension
tow plow inspection
Tow Plow Inspection
  • Used to assist operator in Tow Plow inspections
    • Use to pre-trip
    • Can be used for pre-storm inspections
dry run check list
Dry-Run Check List
  • Performed pre-season
    • Dry-Run
    • Allows operator to become familiar with the Tow Plow
    • Identify hazards
    • Identify turnaround points
    • Discuss and plan plowing procedures
closed driving maneuvers
Closed Driving Maneuvers
  • Provides several plowing scenarios including but not limited to
    • Ramps
    • Stalled vehicles
    • Barriers
    • Curves
  • Include additional maneuvers as needed