Parking the Big Rig in Snow

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The snow and ice continue to wreak havoc along Indiana and Illinois highways. But no matter the conditions, you still may see several semi-trucks weathering the storms. Which begs the question: just how do truck drivers deal with blizzard like weather?

If you drove past the Pilot truck stop in Marshall, you would see just how truck drivers weather the storm.

Wednesday’s weather caused plenty of headaches for drivers. Many pulled off at the Marshall truck stop due to road conditions.

“I have a Ford Mustang, which is a great car for 240 days of the year. But on days like today, it’s not safe,” Bob Seay said, a motorist driving from Fort Wayne to his home in Colorado.

The same can be said for semi-truck drivers. They too deal with the same conditions as motorists. And the truck stop felt like a big rig dealership given the amount of trucks parked.

“It’s a big hassle out here. It’s a complicated thing, just a big game you have to play. Every day. Day in and day out,” Marvin Genini, a truck driver, said.

And truck stops like the Pilot are crucial for an occupation where driving is at the core.

“We got a shower here. You have church’s chicken and you have the pilot. And guess what? I’ve got a lot of guys to talk to here,” Cheryl Garcia-Ward said of the truck stop.

“You’ve got a lot of company trucks out here that ain’t got no microwave, no way to have food in their truck. They depend on these truck stops,” Genini added.

Driving on the highway is all part of the job description. Getting to a destination on time is another aspect. Cheryl Garcia-Ward is heading from Ohio to El Paso, Texas, a 2 1/2 day trip. But the weather will lengthen it to a week. On days like Wednesday, the job may not be worth the risk.

“You send in over the Qualcomm: “due to safety conditions, weather conditions, I’m shutting it down.” Because you have to take charge. There’s no load worth a life. There’s absolutely no load worth a life,” she said.

Once it is time to head back out, Marvin Genini says motorists and truck drivers need to work together to keep everyone safe, because slowing down in an 18-wheeler isn’t the same as slowing down in a Ford Mustang. “I had 6 four wheelers just weave in and out in between the trucks. On that snow and ice, you can’t stop 80,000 pounds within inches.”

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