GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Truck drivers adjust to the weather in Wisconsin come winter to stay safe

Local News

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WFRV) Our recent winter weather with bitter cold has made roads slick and driving a challenge for many of us. But what about truck drivers? Kris Schuller went out on the road to learn how they try to stay safe.

Winter returned to Wisconsin in February leaving inches of snow all across the state.
And our recent arctic chill has left many roads covered with ice like conditions. Making winter travel tough and truck drivers like Lonnie Whitfield navigating the road the best way he can.

“You gotta keep your distance, you got to use a lot of common sense, you can’t be riding up behind vehicles, over speeding, all that kind of stuff, just got to use common sense,” said Whitfield.

Semi-trucks can carry tens of thousands of pounds of cargo and in bad weather conditions semi drivers are taught to slow it down.

“It can be challenging, driving a truck. I think some things are taken for granted,” said Rob Behnke. He is the director of the Truck Driving Program at Fox Valley Technical College.

“People think sometimes that hey, driving a truck is great because you get to be out on the road and I love to drive my car so it should be easy. But there are a lot of things we have to worry about,” said Behnke.

Things like keeping themselves, the general public and the freight they carry safe. Add in snow and ice and the stress level goes up. So, he teaches his students in these conditions to take a deep breath.

“Do things more slowly, approach intersections differently, keep your speed at a respectful speed out on the highways – because we don’t know what that surface underneath us truly is,” Behnke said.

Advice that Lonnie Whitfield follows, whether rain, ice, sun or snow.

“Take it slow, you can’t be in a rush, that is just the bottom line. The product will get there when you get there, at least you get there safely,” Whitfield said.

Each year at Fox Valley Tech between 250 and 400 students graduate from the truck driving program.

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