WHITEOUT CONDITIONS: Too Slick For Semi Drivers

Commuters found the going easier Friday evening. It is a big difference compared to 24 hours ago.

An 18-wheeler jackknifed on I-80 near Waukee causing a 25 car pile-up where two other semis ended up in the ditch.

With the extra weight in the back, some may think semis might have a little more grip to the road but some of the drivers we spoke to said that once they begin to slide, it’s virtually impossible to recover.

“You’ve got 40-thousand pounds, if not more coming up behind you. As long as you can keep the trailer behind you, you’re good. Once it starts coming around, you’re down. That truck is gone,” driver Paul Woods said.

“When it’s too slick, there’s no business being out there. It’s just too dangerous,” Larry Power added.

With roads taking a turn for the worst so quickly, a lot of drivers called it a night early and even avoided the roads during the morning rush hour.

It’s not a requirement for semis to get off the roads during poor driving conditions.

Iowa State Patrol says there aren’t any separate laws for truck drivers relating to winter weather.

When they are involved in an accident, State Patrol can have a real mess on their hands.

“When we have a semi that jackknifes out there, chances are it’s going to take up both lanes of traffic. Last night, we couldn’t open up the interstate for a few hours,” Sgt. Scott Bright said.

A jackknifed semi on I-35 near Cummings exit. Courtesy Ron Crawley

A jackknifed semi on I-35 near Cummings exit. Courtesy Ron Crawley

That accident in Waukee wasn’t the only 25-car-pile-up caused after a semi jackknifed.

Along I-35 near Cummings there was a very similar scene with dozens of cars sliding into the ditch.

However, a lot of trucks do make the decision to avoid the roads when the weather turns for the worst.

1 Comment

  • MaryCannon Derisory Apodaca

    Get those big rigs OFF the road!!!

    Much easier said than done. Finding a place to get a rig off the road isn’t an easy task. There just are not enough places to park those big boys when weather turns to muck.

    If the semis are moving slowly, all other traffic needs to take heed and move at the same pace as the rigs… Stay back.. give them room and don’t pass.

    Those guys know what they are doing. Well, most of them.

    My son wasn’t able to get off the road from Des Moines to Osceola, which with road conditions as they were yesterday afternoon, was a two hour trip… Fifty miles.. TWO HOURS…

    If you have to be on the road… PAY ATTENTION to how the semi drivers are rolling… follow their lead and give them plenty of room…

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