Winter Driving

It’s the middle of February and winter has finally hit the Pacific Northwest. A massive winter storm has come in at full force bringing heavy snow, strong winds, and freezing rains. It’s been enough to keep me at home. I certainly don’t want to be driving in these kind of conditions. These conditions make driving a semi-truck especially dangerous. It might not be the ice on the road that gets you. I’ve driven in blizzard conditions in Northern Alberta. I’ve experienced my fair share of black ice and wind in Wyoming. I can handle the crazy weather conditions. It’s just a matter of going slow, giving yourself plenty of time, and paying attention. Drive for the conditions. Do this, and even in the nastiest of weather, you’ll come through. No, the biggest unpredictable variable in terms of foul weather driving is other people.

Yesterday I was headed north bound on I-5 towards Puyallup, Washington. I had a Lowe’s trailer that needed delivery asap. The roads were wet but drivable. Snow was coming down and the temperature was falling. I was driving for the conditions, and was going just above 50 mph. I looked to my right and saw an older pickup truck trying to pass me using the shoulder. He lost control and flew off the road into the hillside. His truck was three feet in the air and reminded me of the dukes of hazzard as it smashed back into the ground. A quick bunny hop followed by another crash and a skid. I said a prayer for the driver, but had to keep going. I made it to Puyallup and started to switch trailers. Snowflakes were falling all around me. It was definitely getting colder and I needed to head to Sumner in order to grab my next load which would get me back to Portland. By the time I was back on the I-5, Portland bound, snow was falling, the roads were getting sketchy, and the concern from other drivers was greatly misplaced.

I hit the 84 near troutdale just after 9pm. The wind was howling and the highway was an ice rink. The drive down had several cars off the road, reminders of why you drive for conditions. I kept saying my Jesus Prayers, and asked that he surround my truck with his holy angels. I did make it home safe. I rolled into our apartment complex just after 10pm. The parking lot at Knight was frozen solid, and I wasn’t sure I’d even it make it to the car without falling. But being able to come home before the storm really hit was a blessing.

This morning I got up and got ready. I packed a day bag as I was expecting to have to sleep in the truck tonight. It took me an extra twenty minutes to make it to the yard this morning. When I left, I could still see some pathways in the road. They were still covered in snow, but passible. I made it to the yard and made my way to the truck. I did my best to imitate a penguin while I walked, it provides better support for yourself when on ice, and I arrived at my big red truck. It was covered in ice. I started with the ice scraper, lifting the hood so I could climb up onto the tires in order to reach the windshield. It was an arduous task, and my fingers started to go numb. The blowing cold against my face made my beard feel like it would freeze and then fall off. Am I crazy? Am I really going to try and risk my life out here in this weather?

One of my work buddies drove up. I asked him where he just came in from. He said he had gone north, and was almost to ridgefield but said screw it and turned around and came back. With heavy snowfall to the north, and freezing rain to the south he didn’t feel safe. I didn’t either, but I was having a hard time really convincing myself of it. I looked at the weather and then at him and then realized, there’s no point. He then told me about the accident that he saw. Apparently a car had tried to pass between a semi and a bus and ended up getting smashed between the two. It’s too nasty and dangerous to be on the road. I sighed and said another prayer. I needed to check in with the office before officially calling it quits for the day. I said hi to my boss and to our operations manager. While inside the office I got word that they were basically shutting down for the day due to the inclement weather. I guess that’s it then. After a quick word with my boss regarding that fabled office position they keep promising me, I headed back out and packed everything up. I came back in, said my goodbyes to the remaining office staff and headed home.

The drive home was worse than the drive over. The roads were barely passable and the winds were picking up even more. I couldn’t see the road or any road lines. I passed tow trucks and had other reckless drivers speed by. Lord have mercy. I made it home thanks be to God and started putting my stuff away. I’ll truck another day.

Winter is the worst time to be a driver, but it is possible to handle it if you stay prepared and focused. And sometimes, it helps to know when to stay home and off the road. But my day, heck even my week has been blessed by God’s grace. Even when nature throws these kinds of challenges at you, staying determined with a prayer in your heart will move you a long way. I’ve had miracles and prayers answered day after day this week. And now I’m in a position to make some new major changes happen. For that info, you’ll need to stay tuned. For now let’s just say that everything is falling into place for me to be better off in life, home, and faith. Glory to God!

I hope you all are staying safe and warm. We are fortunate to be together, with fresh food in the fridge. I hit the grocery store earlier in the day because I know that tomorrow is supposed to be hit with more snow and a massive ice storm. Most likely, tomorrow will be another stay at home snow day.

That’s all for now my friends. Stay safe, stay warm, and I’ll see you next time!

– Orthodox Trucker

The yard covered in snow and ice. Lots of trucks, going nowhere.

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