Braving a snowstorm to get the story

Sometimes, reporters have to go above and beyond to get the story.

Rick Reigstad, a MnDOT snow plow driver, clears snow from the mirrors of his plow Sunday morning on US Highway 12 in Kerkhoven.

For our reporter Carolyn Lange, Sunday was one of those times.

After making several attempts with MnDOT to schedule a ride along with a snow plow driver, her chance came on Sunday morning. She called in around 5 a.m., and MnDOT called back an hour later to tell her that today would be the day.

Around 7 a.m., she headed out in the cold and snow and spent the morning with plow driver Rick Reigstad, taking the route from Willmar to Kerkhoven and back again.

After spending the morning with MnDOT, Carolyn headed back in the early afternoon, anticipating a bad ride home. Conditions were so treacherous that she had to pull over, not knowing if she could make it back in her car. Thankfully, she found a plow to follow and made it home safe and sound.

Despite a stressful ride home, Carolyn says her time on the plow Sunday helped her write today’s story about an advanced technology that helps MnDOT plow drivers do their jobs more effectively.

“I had heard about the technology and had seen the printouts, but I didn’t fully understand until I saw it in action,” Carolyn says. “It was different to watch every part of the process and see firsthand through the window.”

She also thinks everyone could benefit from a ride along with a snow plow driver.

“Everyone at MnDOT was so gracious. It was a bumpy ride, but they took the time to explain everything,” she says. “They face so many challenges out there. If people could take a ride with them, I think they would have much more respect for what the drivers do.”

Thank you to the snow plow drivers, everyone at MnDOT and the reporters who go above and beyond (and out in the blizzards) to keep the public informed!