Wherever you are in the United States this week, you have heard people talking about the “Polar Vortex”, and if you live in the Midwest or anywhere in the East, you have been experience this Polar Vortex first hand. So, what is the Polar Vortex? According to CNN, a Polar Vortex is a “circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surrounds the northern pole in a counterclockwise direction – a polar low-pressure system.” In words we can all understand, it is cold air that has been sent southward from the North Pole, meaning that it’s just as cold, if not colder right now in the US than it is at the North Pole.
Because of these freezing temperatures, people in many states have been told to only go outside if they absolutely have to. What does this mean when you are a truck driver out on the road, and everyone else is told to go inside, but you only have your truck to stay in?
First things first; if the weather is bad enough that people are being told to stay inside unless of an emergency, you shouldn’t be driving; even if you do have chains. As a truck driver, your safety should be more important that getting your run delivered on time.
If you are unable to find a truck stop with available space, find a hotel. With extreme weather conditions like this one, companies are often understanding that their drivers aren’t traveling on the roads, because, they also know that it is dangerous, and they don’t want anyone, whether it be their driver, or someone else, in danger.
In the news this week, we heard of a driver who got under his truck to get some ice off of his brakes, and ended up getting pinned under his truck because of the truck sinking further into the snow. Luckily, after spending hours in the cold, he was able to voice dial a dispatcher, and his life was saved. This shows how dangerous the weather can be, even when you are just preparing to travel.
The outlook is good; the weather is warming up (from 0), and the driving conditions are getting better. If you were stuck in this storm, we hope that remained safe. For those of us on the West, we are glad we were just watching it on our televisions.