Fortunately, an especially nasty winter is over in New England. Now that the plows have been put back into storage until the snow returns, we thought it would be a good time to stop and show my newfound admiration of the plow guy. I have driven in snow and on ice, I have driven Ram Heavy Duty trucks many, many times, but for the first time this past winter, I used a snow plow.

The Equipment

The Ram Heavy-Duty is a 2500 Big Horn crew cab with 4-wheel drive, powered by a 410-horsepower, 6.4-liter V8 backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. There are two option packages for using a plow on the Ram. The $780 Snow Chief Group includes a limited-slip rear axle, auxiliary switches, extra marker lights and more. The $135 Heavy-Duty Snow Plow Prep Group has a 180-amp alternator and a skid plate that protects the transfer case. While it was not equipped with either package, our Ram Big Horn had the 180-amp alternator, limited-slip and plenty of power to move snow.

The plow was a BOSS, with an 8-inch polymer blade and electro-hydraulic controls. This setup was also equipped with raised lighting, making sure you can drive safely at night. It is operated by using a controller inside the cab.

Clearing Roads

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles took us to Canada, where Nick Cappa in Ram Truck Media Relations did a careful rundown of the dos and don'ts of plowing. He showed me how to use the controller, and reminded me that this is a process that requires constant attention -- especially for someone who has never plowed before. He had me practice moving the plow up, down and adjusting the angle. Once he saw me do that, it was time to clear a road.

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There was never a question that the Ram is a capable truck for the job. The engine's power, the sturdiness of the truck and the steady performance while plowing all made the job feel easy in a straight line. I kept the power level smooth but had the truck move at enough of a pace to push the snow out of the way. Using the controller while driving takes acclimation, but its intuitive layout means that once you know which button does what, you can use it without having to look. My left hand was always on the steering wheel and my right held the controller but I was still free to shift gears without having to put down the controller. I did some plowing with the blade facing straight ahead. You can definitely feel the weight of the plow on the front of the truck, but it doesn't take too long to get used to it. Next, Nick had me use the controller to angle the plow blade to the right, so that I was clearing snow off to the side of the road.

It pays to pay attention

But as I saw out of the corner of my eye that snow was spraying majestically toward the side of the road, I had that moment, that brief moment where I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm doing this! This looks so cool!" And that was when I stopped paying attention to what I was doing, stopped following Nick's instructions and drove into the snowbank that flanked both sides of the road. Fortunately, this was on a closed course, so I wasn't at risk of hitting a parked car or worse, but it was an important object lesson.

When I got to the end of the road, Nick had me turn around, continuing to plow, and head back. He then had me plow some snow into one pile, practicing the back-and-forth maneuvers of bringing snow to one area. Finishing that, my lesson was over, we got out of the Ram, and it was someone else's turn.

This exercise gave me a new appreciation for what Ram's Heavy-Duty trucks can do. Three-quarter- and one-ton trucks are highly capable when plowing snow. You can read about the specs and numbers all day long, but it doesn't mean as much until you actually give it a try to see how the truck reacts and how it feels to do a specialized job like this. It also gave me a new newfound respect for plow guys. It's good to know that when the weather rears its ugly head, there's someone around like Mr. Plow, with the tools and ability to clear the roads during a wicked Nor'easter.

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