Navigating snowy mountain passes with a shortage of tow truck drivers
Wintry conditions can cripple drivers on I-90 heading to the mountain passes, for even the most experienced drivers.
NORTH BEND, Wash. – Wintry conditions can cripple drivers on I-90 heading to the mountain passes, for even the most experienced drivers.
FOX 13 News took a ride with Todd’s Towing, from North Bend to Snoqualmie Pass after a full day of non-stop calls for spinouts and accidents.
“Been slammed, yesterday my morning started at 5:30 and we didn’t come off the hill until about 5:30 that night,” said Tow Truck Operator Dallas Clark.
Driver fatigue and a driver shortage, he says, are stopping many tow companies from being able to rescue every stranded vehicle, especially late at night.
“The shortage of troopers and the shortage of DOT is really having its toll on trying to keep this highway open, trying to keep everyone safe,” he said.
That is why drivers need to be proactive. Packing the essentials like food, water, a full tank of gas and a shovel are important.
Don’t remove those mats, they could come in handy.
A lot of people say the floor mats can help. This is cloth on one side and rubber on the other but because of the grip we wanted to know if this is a viable option for helping to get traction on the tires.
“It’s a catch 22 because it’s on what you’re stuck on. If you’re stuck on this and it’s slick, absolutely you’re going to be able to throw that under and get going,” said Clark. “I’d put the spikes down because it wants to grab the ground more.”
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Any more than a couple of inches of snow, you’ll need tire chains but buyer beware.
“One of the most common calls yesterday is my chains are tangled around my axle and I don’t know what to do,” said Clark.
One driver, he says put their chains on incorrectly and paid the price.
“If you chain up correctly you should hear no noise,” said Clark.
If you’re going to head up to the passes anyway, experts say the best advice they have is to check DOT, make sure you know the travel conditions before you head out, make sure you have chains on your tires if you need them especially. And best advice, most important piece don’t travel at night because there may not be somebody there to help pull you out.
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