Each year millions of pounds of dust and dirt whirl away thanks to street sweepers. These divert tons of debris, keeping the air and water free from contamination. Although their service is valuable, it goes with little recognition.
It’s time to clear up exactly how to prepare your street for cleaning and how to properly navigate around a sweeper while driving in your car. Use these lessons in etiquette and show your local street sweepers your appreciation for the hard work they do.
Benefits Street Sweepers Provide
People are more likely to show courtesy to street sweepers if they understand and appreciate the advantages of their service. Keep these benefits in mind and feel motivated to repay your neighborhood street sweeper.
- They keep streets clear from debris, so our streets safer to drive on and safer for our children to play on. Clean streets are safe streets.
- Clean streets enhance the look of your neighborhood and promote community pride. They also increase property value. Neighborhoods with clean streets show a direct correlation to homes that sell faster and at a higher price.
- Removing dirt and debrislimits wear and tear on asphalt, lowering the cost to repair or replace streets and sidewalks.
- Street sweepers clear the street of dirt that contaminates the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Debris in gutters moves downstream to land in storm drains. This water flows to rivers and canals and pollutes the water system. Street sweeping clears these pollutants by catching them before they ever enter the water cycle.
Sweepers operate with advanced technology that swallows up the smallest and most dangerous pollutants. These pollutants include yard clippings, fertilizers, shards of glass, and small bits of garbage.
It’s never fun getting stuck in traffic when you are running late. It’s frustrating to wait behind a line of cars wanting to pass someone who is slowing things down a bit.
But remember, garbage collectors, mail carriers, bus drivers, and street sweepers have to work in traffic. Street sweepers follow the same traffic regulations as all other drivers. In order for them to do their job, they need to drive slowly and make several stops.
Following proper driving etiquette with regard to street sweepersis a serious matter. In August 2014, a driver was killed after crashing into a street sweeper in Gardena, California. The driver was attempting to pass a street sweeper going too fast and cutting too close. The driver clipped the street sweeper, lost control of his vehicle, and crashed into a light pole. These kinds of accidents are rare, but the danger is real.
Treat local street sweepers with the same courtesy as you would anyone else. Leave plenty of room between your car and their equipment. By doing so, you will avoid receiving any damage to your car from flying debris. Once you have adequate space in the opposing lane and in front of the sweeper, move out and around, always passing on the left.
Limit passing to one car at a time. If you wait mere seconds for the car in front of you to pass, you won’t distract sweepers with several cars passing all at once.
If there is not enough room to pass, be kind and allow plenty of room for the sweeper to work in front of you. Refrain from honking and yelling at street sweepers. They realize they are moving at slow speeds. The maximum speed a sweeper can drive is about 15 mph.
Once you learn the schedule of your neighborhood street sweeper, plan for their arrival. Your preparation helps sweepers do their job to the best of their ability. It is not advantageous for sweepers to sweep curbs blocked by parked cars or other obstructions.
Street sweepers will not clean in front of houses with parked cars, low hanging tree limbs, garbage cans, or other barriers. Understand that their equipment is not meant to pick up large debris like branches, garbage, or piles of leaves. Street sweepers will avoid driving through anything that might clog their equipment. Pick up garbage and leaves and put them in the trash, so they can better clean the dirt and dust left behind.
If you and your neighbors do your part to be courteous and helpful to those who serve our community, the world will be a brighter, cleaner place.