GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As many West Michigan residents are avoiding driving during this week’s winter storm, snowplow drivers are getting up early to clear the streets.

“I left the seat last night at 6 and got back in at about 4 (Thursday morning),” Andy Albertson, driver with the Kent County Road Commission, said as he navigated the snow-covered roads of West Michigan.

Sitting high above the road, Albertson and other drivers are spending hours clearing, salting and sanding the roads around Kent County as the first winter storm of the season dumped inches of snow across the region.

“It’s a time consuming process. We’ve been at it around the clock since it started and we’ll be at it around the clock until we’re caught up,” Albertson said.

To help speed up the process, officials with the Kent County Road Commission are asking residents to keep all hazards such as children, pets, vehicles and trash cans out of the road.

“These drivers have a lot to do and pay attention to. There’s limited visibility when that snow is coming off their (trucks), they can’t see kids, pets, whatever. So, keep them away from the road,” Jerry Byrne, deputy managing director of operations, said.

At the current rate, officials expect that all neighborhoods in Kent County that are still waiting to be plowed should see one of the green snowplows by Friday afternoon.

For anyone planning on driving, officials ask that they turn on their headlights and tail lights so it’s easier to see their vehicle.