Truck Drivers Take On Windy Day - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Truck Drivers Take On Windy Day

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

Semi truck drivers live and die by the road conditions each day, but regardless of what it's like, they have to keep going.

Whipping winds can send a semi-trailer sliding and leave its driver helpless.

"The curbs are grated," said truck driver Richard Volk. "Once you get tipped over and the winds pushing you, you're going over. It's just as simple as that."

Volk sought shelter from the wind Tuesday while his truck was being worked on. When he has to drive in these conditions, he looks for a way to gauge the gusts.

"It can be just a plastic bag on a barbed wire fence to give you an idea of the wind speed and the wind direction and what to watch for," Volk said. 

A truck that's empty or has a light load can easily topple in Tuesday's wind speeds of 40+ mph. There's not a lot that drivers can do about it.

"The biggest thing is to slow down," Volk said. "In fact stop."

Everyone else on the road can make keeping steady even tougher.

"Cars weaving in and around you, it just adds that much more stress on to the job," said John Schumacher who drove semis for four years.

Schumacher has a simple rule for other drivers: The more wheels it has, the more room you need to give it.

"A lot of people don't realize those don't stop," Schumacher said. "Not like a car does."

Being at the wheel of 80,000 pounds has it's challenges.

"There are days you really earn your money and then there are days it's just like being on vacation," said Volk.

It just takes a little more work on days like Tuesday, but they have to keep on trucking.

"The country does run on them," said Schumacher. "They are the unsung heroes."

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