February 18, 2021 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Safety with a Sense of Humor: The Punniest Snowplows

Scottish snowplows may have funny names but they perform very serious work

Scots are fierce about their puns . . . and their fleet of snowplows.

After all, driving on ice or snow in subzero weather is no laughing matter. The Scots also don’t disappoint when it comes to naming snowplows, or “gritters,” as the equipment is termed in the UK. Take “For Your Ice Only” and “Meltin’ John.” How about “Spready Mercury,” “Snowbegone Kenobi,” “Gritty Gritty Bang Bang,” “Sir Salter Scott,” “Sir Andy Flurry,” or “Luke Snowalker”? Now, a lobby has begun for “Plowy McPlowface.”

Lest we think the snowplows exist for fun, let’s reference what Herald Scotland says about its role in the wild and woolly weather in Scotland:

From October 1st to May 15th, a 24-hour dedicated winter maintenance service operates on all Scotland’s trunk roads.

In total, 230 vehicles spread salt and plough [plow] snow in Scotland on 51 Winter Patrol routes in addition to the 92 Precautionary Treatment routes.

The herald

And The Scotsman highlights how to track the plows on Traffic Scotland’s map as well as lending some worthy advice, including “Remember, braking distances are increased by as much as 10 times in snow and ice, so leave a much larger gap to the vehicle in front.”

In England, the Doncaster Council’s snowplow names resound with the same spirit of sass: “Gritty Gonzales,” “Gritallica,” “Grittie McVittie,” “Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney. (Gritsy Bitsy, for short),” and “David Plowie.”

CNET tells us that, “The BBC reports the practice of naming the plows goes back to 2006 when the Scottish Transport Ministry encouraged wee school children to come up with funny monikers for them. It launched its online tracker in 2016.”

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