PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The snow has already started to blanket the area; but road crews have been getting ready for the battle ahead long before the first flake fell.

Harry Scherba has been a plow truck operator for PennDOT for three years. He’s one of 400 drivers operating PennDOT’s fleet of nearly 2200 trucks.

Armed with sensors and screens, the cab of his truck looks a lot more like the cockpit of an airplane. Ground-air temperature sensors indicate when it’s time to throw down anti-skid material.

Scherba and his colleagues have been preparing for a long day behind the wheel.

Pushing snow while hauling a few tons of salt can be taxing; but like any athlete getting ready for a big game, Scherba says it’s all about preparation. “I make sure I get my eight hours, pack a little lunch — just basically get my rest before I come out on a shift.”

Loaded up with salt, his truck weighs about 6 tons; and the plow alone weighs about a ton.

Even so, Scherba says not everyone steers clear of them on the roads. “When we’re in the plow mode, plowing the snow — you’ll get a vehicle every once in a while want to pass you. You shouldn’t do that, it’s pretty dangerous. The plow will do some damage if it hits a vehicle. A plow here weighs approximately 1800 pounds, definitely tear a car up.”

While the scraping, spreading and occasional sleepiness can take a toll, Scherba and his fellow drivers say they take a lot of pride in their work and want to make sure families get home safely. “I love my job!”

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