There are many types of snow plowing equipment used to clear away snow, from hand-held shovels and brooms to gasoline- and electric-powered snow plowing equipment for the homeowner, to huge mechanical giants for industrial uses. In many areas, trucks and machinery used for maintenance of roads and streets in the summer months are transformed into snow plowing equipment in winter months. Trucks equipped with plow blades, tractors with large snow blowers and huge earth-moving machines are all used as snow plowing equipment during the cold winter months.
One of the most common pieces of snow plowing equipment seen in many areas is the plow truck. Typically a large dump truck fitted with a giant snow blade on the front, these trucks often carry salt in the dump box. In especially heavy snow fall areas, this type of snow plowing equipment can be equipped with a giant V-shaped plow to effortlessly clear roads of big snow drifts. The V-plow is able to open up drifted roads in order for the trucks equipped with regular blades to finish clearing them.
In the heaviest snow-impacted areas, snow plowing equipment consists of another specially equipped vehicle. Giant snow blowing machines are affixed to old military trucks and even tracked vehicles. These machines are able to clear the areas of deep snow and drifts in which a regular truck could become stuck. Instead of just pushing the snow to the side of the road, these machines blow the snow a great distance away from the road. This aids in keeping the shoulder of the road clear as well as leaving room for future snow to be piled as the season progresses.
Railroads use large V-plows mounted on gondola cars as snow plowing equipment. A locomotive will push these specially equipped gondola cars and clear the rails of any large snow drifts. Railroads are not the only transportation industry to plow their own snow. Airports often use large earth moving machinery to plow and remove snow from runways and taxiways. Looking much like large square blades, the big loader tractors push the snow into piles.
Once piled, the snow plowing equipment sheds its blades and uses its buckets to load the snow into trucks to be removed from the area. Often, a salt and sand mix is spread by the snow plows to give added traction to slippery roads. The salt also aids in clearing ice from the roadways. In some areas, a liquid syrup derived from sugar beets is used in lieu of crystallized salt to remove ice from roadways.