Hey! Don't Plow My Driveway In!

Snow Plow TruckNo one likes to spend significant effort to clean the snow off of their driveway only to have the plow come by and fill in the highway end of it all over again. Most of us grumble and get to work, but an Errington man decided to stand in the way and prevent the grader from doing this to his driveway. In what almost became more ways than one, he didn't have a leg to stand on.

Not All of Your Driveway is Yours

Your kingdom ends at the property line and property for the highway begins on the other side. In order to construct your driveway access you may need permission from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure if you live outside of a municipality. One term of that permission is that your are responsible for all maintenance including clearing snow from highway plowing operations at the access entrance.

Driveway construction and maintenance within a municipality is governed through bylaws. Most municipal bylaws are available on the internet  these days, but information about your responsibilities may be obtained by contacting your local bylaw department. Remember that municipal bylaws may not be uniform throughout the province.

Responsibilities of Rural Road Maintenance Contractors

Rural road maintenance (outside municipal boundaries) is conducted by private contractors. The specifications that they must follow include a chapter on highway snow removal. Roadside snow and ice control are dealt with in 3-320, but driveways are not specified as part of the services required.

Leaving Your Snow on the Road

One might be tempted to push all that snow right back out onto the road where it came from. While it might be satisfying, there are two reasons that this would be a poor decision to make. The Transportation Act forbids causing anything to be deposited on public highways without authorization in section 62(1).

If a collision resulted from the snow you moved onto the traveled lanes, you could be liable to a civil action for damages. The outcome of the civil suit could be very costly to you as it would not be covered by insurance.

Civil Disobedience

The Transportation Act also forbids obstructing or preventing another person from engaging in any activity if that activity is authorized by the Act. Contracting out Highway maintenance is an activity within the many powers granted to the Minister. The maintenance contractor would be operating under the authority of the Minister.

Considering that we want speedy snow clearing from highways and not to have to spend more than we already do on taxes for road maintenance perhaps the status quo is acceptable, even if it means that we have to shovel again after the plows pass by.


Snow Plow Solution

I have lived in Regina and Winnipeg where snow can be a much bigger problem than the occasional snowfall we get here at the West coast. Many years ago, the plows would frequently block the end of driveways and the plow operators were subjected to much verbal abuse.

Finally, someone came up with a modification to the snow plow blade which allowed the operator to lower a wing at the end of the blade so that the snow which would block the driveway would be pushed along until the operator raised the wing. This worked amazingly well and demonstrated that there are some municipal officials who don’t hide behind the law, but care enough about the taxpayers who pay their salaries to do something useful and solve a very big problem.

I phoned the RDN last week to complain about my driveway being blocked by a three-foot wall of snow and ice which my 76-year-old wife had to try to move so that we could drive to a medical appointment. The sarcastic woman I spoke to was unsympathetic and said “That’s the way it is everywhere.” I told her that wasn’t true. There were places where that didn’t happen. I may as well have talked to a complete idiot for all I accomplished.

Plowed in driveway

Yes, there is snow plowing equipment that has the ability to drop a wing and clear the end of every driveway as it passes by but this is not feasible in the real world. A snow plow has the ability to clear roads at road speed which means it can clear a certain amount of road per day, if you had to go slow enough to clear the end of every driveway as you pass you would only be able to go a fraction of the speed to do this safely without doing any damage to property or plow meaning you would need many more plows and manpower to clear the same amount of roads per day. This would greatly increase equipment purchasing, operating  and maintainence costs that no jurisdiction will tolerate on their tax bill. One of the realities of living in snow country.

Playing the Game

Anyone that understands the game shovels to the left of their driveway as much as they can.

I’ve done this for years and it minimizes the snow drifting in front of my house!

Snowplow behind you?

If you have a snowplow coming up behind you while you are driving slowly and safely down the road, do not pull over to the right to let him pass, he won't be able to for several reasons, one, he will bury you with snow as he passes and two, he will not have plowed the lane you are in while he is passing. If you can not turn off and it is safe to do so move one lane to the left and let him continue on in the lane he is in to keep the road clear for all the following traffic.

leave things alone?

The Transportation Act forbids causing anything to be deposited on public highways without authorization in section 62(1).

If a collision resulted from the snow you moved onto the traveled lanes, you could be liable to a civil action for damages. The outcome of the civil suit could be very costly to you as it would not be covered by insurance.

So would I be correct in assuming this would mean that those lawn and garden contractors I see using leaf blowers to blast leaves off private and condo lawns and onto the streets are violating section 62(1) as well as exposing the company and/or property owners to civil liability?

Check with Town

Probably won't have the same in Vancouver or Victoria but a lot of your interior communities if you are over 65 will clean the snow from in front of your driveway.

I'm registered with my Town and it may take a few hours after the plow truck but they do come around with a front end loader and clean out seniors and people with disabilities drives. If they are using the grader they do as mentioned for all driveways and lower the wing as they go by.

Don't Drive in Bad Weather

In bad snow only drive if its important. Do not drink and drive ,in fact dont drink full stop. Keep two car lengths between cars in 30mhp motion .Do not ride the clutch learn how to change gears with out it watching clocks revs and listen to that engine it talks gears to you. Once mastered never use that clutch again put in for women after war time really. Go no place unless sure all water and oil levels are correct . Check how much fuel in tank and check how many miles per gallon regularly. In modern cars we are spoiled by tech doing all for us but best to check its right once in while. Keep car clean inside and out and see it as your Life in your own hands as no one is superman nor will live forever so take care and enjoy motoring with one thought that helps .Think of all other drivers as idiots and drive with them in mind too. Be aware of moves and not all indicate so think for them as to what move is next. After while it all comes in to natural skill .After 55 years of driving all sorts on army vehicles and wagon and cars I think I can drive perhaps now rest was just learning as each day in life is .Happy Christmas to you keep safe and catch those villains 

Google Ads