by American Trucker (Carl)
Snow Storm in Atlanta
It wasn't a bad day in Carolina; not really bad anyway. A good thing too:
I usually check the weather before departing on a run, and my boss didn't let anybody off for the weather anyway. ?lessen she couldn't get in to the office to tell you to go. We were scheduled for an early afternoon departure. It was a little gray and crispy on the way over to the terminal and I still hadn't recovered from the R&R. That's why the new co-driver took the first shift, so I could get some more sleep. We introduced each other and I crawled into the sleeper while he checked the equipment.
About three hours later my co-driver Phil shook me awake and said I don't wanna drive anymore.? ?Okay, where are we?? I asked sleepily, but he didn't know. He had turned off on a frontage road alongside the interstate. He didn?t want to drive because of the snow falling around us.
Since the interstate was in sight only about a quarter of a mile off to our right, I took the wheel without further questions and got back on the highway at the next interchange.
Sure, it was snowing a little, and it began blowing across the road a bit, so we cruised along at a leisurely thirty-five. Wasn't any point in stopping then we'd be there all night and miss our appointment in San Diego.
As we drove, the snow began accumulating alongside and on the highway. Pretty soon we were driving on snow, hard-packed from traffic ahead, none of which was in sight. As we crested a rise and began a short descent, I noticed a revolving blue light suddenly attempt to cross the snow-filled median at the bottom. It didn't make it. I knew it wasn't a K-Mart and flipped-up the high-beams despite the thickening snow.
There was a tractor-trailer stretched sideways from the median to the guardrail all the way across the two southbound lanes. Past the guardrail was nothing but empty space. The blue light was stuck
in the snow ahead of the rig.
Of course I tried the brakes. I saw the reflection of the brake lights in the snow behind the trailer. Even gently applied, the trailer wheels broke loose and about 60,000 pounds of trailer and cast-iron began to cross the lane beside me and catch up with the front of the tractor.
That darkened semi ahead of us started closing in very quickly. The guy in the buddy seat screamed and lunged for the trailer brake on the doghouse which, luckily, I already had a grip on, anticipating that he would go for it and jackknife the rig for sure.
There were only two options here and I didn?t like either one of them: either go through the trailer stretched across the road; or go thru the guardrail,cause stopping wasn't going to happen.
There was only about an eighth of an inch of aluminum to protect me from the trailer that the cab would hit (and God knows what was in the trailer before us). Only three or four ?one-eighths? of an inch of aluminum lie between us and a load of heavy fireplugs lying unsecured on the floor of the trailer behind us (at least mostly behind us).
That ruled out option one.
I committed my future to the fates as we were running out of space and time so I cranked the wheel of the big Frieghtliner over to the right just in time to find a hole between the back of the blocking trailer and the guardrail. Our trailer was still re-aligning with the tractor but it straightened-out enough to make it though without hitting, so I pulled her down into a lower gear, got back onto the highway and drove on out of the snowstorm. By the time we got to Atlanta, the snow was easing off and I turned it back over to the co-driver, who had decided that I was ?OK? in his book.
If it hadn't been for the blue light, you wouldn't be reading this story. This happened in the winter of 2009.