‘It’s a scary thing:’ Plow, tow truck drivers urge motorists to move over, slow down

James Poplawski

MILWAUKEE -- With a winter storm on the way, plow and tow truck drivers will be busy Thursday night, Feb. 8 and Friday, Feb. 9 -- and before the first flakes flew in SE WI, they had an important message for others on the road.

"People don't think of us as emergency vehicles, but we are," said James Poplawski of Jensen Towing.

Poplawski said he'll be on the road Thursday night, and he hopes he will not be accidentally struck.

"Something's got to be done to get the word out there," Poplawski said.

When you see a tow truck or a plow -- move over and slow down.

"I have a family of my own and I want to go home and see my kids at night," Poplawski said.

James Poplawski

As a tow truck driver, Poplawski said he has had many close calls with motorists not giving him the room he needs to tow a car out of a ditch.

"We're laying on the ground hooking the cars up constantly, going to the front of the truck to the side of the truck, and you can feel the wind whizzing past you and it's a scary thing," Poplawski said.

Julie Anderson

In Racine County, where the snow is expected to be heavy Thursday into Friday, the message was  similar when it comes to the plow drivers who will be busy working to clear the roads.

"The snow plows can only go so fast and do their job effectively, so it's really important that cars keep their distance away from the plows. These are very large vehicles. Plow blades are huge -- and to try to pass a plow or go around the plow or get too close to a plow is asking for trouble," said Julie Anderson with the Racine County Department of Public Works.

When it snows, Poplawski thinks about what can happen even more.

"It gets a lot scarier, especially when the roads get slick and slippery," Poplawski said.

James Poplawski

Tow truck drivers use flashing lights and sometimes have police trying to help. Still, motorists get dangerously close.