A snowplow (also spelled snow plow, snowplough or snow plough, see miscellaneous spelling differences) is a vehicle, or a device intended for mounting on a vehicle, for removing snow and sometimes ice from outdoor surfaces, typically those serving transportation purposes. In many cases, pickup trucks and tractors are outfitted with plows to fulfill this purpose. In areas that regularly receive large amounts of snow every year, and also in specific environments such as airfield, specifically snowplowing winter service vehicles are used. Some regions that do not frequently see snow may use graders and other equipment to fulfill this task, but graders are nonetheless the best equipment to remove compacted snow and ice off the streets. Snowplows can also be mounted on rail cars to clear railway tracks.
A snowplow works by using a blade to push snow to the side or straight ahead, clearing it from a surface. Modern plows may include a great deal of technology to make the job—and staying on the road—easier, such as Global Positioning System receivers, heads-up displays and infrared cameras.
When snowfalls accumulate above a certain height, snowplow operators may be seen clearing primarily designated "snow routes", often for the exclusive use of emergency vehicles such as fire trucks.
The first snowplows were horsedrawn wedge-plows made of wood. With the advent of the automobile, a number of inventors set about to improve existing snowplows. In the US, patents were issued for snowplow improvements at least as early as 1920.
In 1923, the brothers Hans and Even Øveraasen of Norway constructed an early snowplow for use on cars. This proved to be the start of a tradition in snow-clearing equipment for roads, railways and airports, as well as the foundation of the company Øveraasen Snow Removal Systems. Carl Frink of Clayton, New York, USA was also an early manufacturer of automobile-mounted snowplows. His company, Frink Snowplows, now Frink-America, was founded by some accounts as early as 1920. Modern day you will find a number of manufacturers supplying many different types of snowplows, a few mainstream include The Boss Snowplow, Fisher Snowplow, Hiniker, Meyer Products, and Western Snowplows Building and distributing of Snowplow equipment has grown exponentially since the first plows made their appearance.
The TowPlow is an advanced snow plow first implemented by the Missouri Department of Transportation as a better tool to clear snow from highways.
The tow plow consists of a truck with a regular plow blade in front and a secondary 26 foot blade attached to a trailer. When the vehicle is in motion, the rear trailer is set at an angle and the rear and front blade forms a straight line. The design was inspired by farm equipment and allows 1 plow truck to do the work of two plows.
The TowPLow was first used in Kansas City, Missouri in January, 2002. Missouri was the first state, with Minnesota being the second state to adopt. Eastern Canada contractors also use them, with over a couple dozen now in the field to operate in Winter 2008. The TowPLow allows one truck and one operator to more than double the performance of each snow plow truck. Each TowPLow truck combination clears two lanes of pavement, over 24' wide with one truck.