Plows work overtime in Oklahoma City area

About 150 workers drive 33 trucks in two shifts to help keep Oklahoma City roadways clear during wintry storms.
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON kfredrickson@opubco.com Modified: December 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm •  Published: December 6, 2013

“You get tired,” Fleming said. “You've got to try to eat regularly and get a decent meal. If you're out here 12 hours, and you do that for four days, your body starts running down.”

Danger of other drivers

The other obvious challenge is the danger of driving on icy roadways. But it's not the conditions that are most threatening to Fleming's safety. It is other drivers. He said it is important to abide by the “stay 200 feet back” sign on the rear of his truck.

Fleming remembers one incident last winter when he nearly collided with a passing car.

“Our guys were blocking traffic, but the guy just went right around him,” Fleming said. “I turned around to go the other way and I was inches away from him.”

Fleming enjoys the winter aspect of his job, considering it's just a fraction of his total workload. It varies depending on the winter season, but he usually won't spend much more than a week behind the wheel of a plow truck each year.

“You're doing the same basic job, but you get to go to a lot of different places,” Fleming said. “You're not looking out the same window every day.”

When Fleming isn't working, he can be found tending to the cows and horses on his property near Moore. He's also a competitive roper. But after a 12-hour shift maintaining winter roads, there's only one place he wants to be — in bed.

“It doesn't take long to go to sleep when you get home,” Fleming said. “Then it's back at it tomorrow.”

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