When the Weather Outside is Frightful…
Almost all vehicles and trucks build after 2000 have a temperature gauge for outside temperatures. I believe that little gadget is probably one of the most important things I used while driving a truck. When you travel in all kinds of weather, especially winter weather, having a temperature gauge will save your butt.
I can remember leaving Odessa, Texas and heading towards Fort Smith, Arkansas in the rain. My chosen route had always been through Fort Worth—north on I-35W towards Sherman, up Highway 69 to I-40 and then east bound to Fort Smith. When I reached Weatherford, I heard over the radio that there was a massive backup on the I-30, and so I chose to take I-20 to the I-45. A longer route, but I wanted to keep moving.
When I reached the break-off point on the I-20 toward Dallas, my truck felt like it slipped on the pavement. At first, I felt it was probably just the rain on the highway, but when I looked down at my temperature gauge, I was surprised that it was at 33 degrees. I quickly realized that I needed to get off the highways, and out of traffic to avoid what was obviously coming—icy roads.
Everything went well until I reached the bridges on the I-45 through Dallas. The roads were becoming slippery as the temperature gauge dipped to 32 degrees and then 31 degrees. The bridges were definitely treacherous, and local four-wheelers were causing havoc for the truckers. Truck drivers were having to work hard not to rear-end the vehicles nervously stopping in front of them on the ice. They forced big rig drivers to brake on the slippery streets, which has the potential to cause trucks to jackknife.
I was one of those truck drivers and I can tell you I “white knuckled” it until I reached Anna, Texas. The temperature had reached 25 degrees by the time I made it to Anna to shut down. It took a couple of days for the weather to clear before I could continue towards Fort Smith. I can tell you from that moment on, I made it a point to watch my temperature gauge. No more slip-sliding-away for me!