Truckers face increased risk on the road as snow starts to creep into Central Washington
YAKIMA, Wash.- Driving around in snow on four tires is hard enough, but when you add another 16 tires and 80 thousand pounds, it becomes a whole different level of difficult.
Mountain passes like Snoqualmie give truckers problems because they have to try and maintain momentum but lose traction because of the snow and ice on the ground.
Not only that, trucker Travis Nelson said they have to worry about other drivers not giving them enough space to stop or slow down.
"You break check a truck and 10 to 1 you're going to end up totaling the truck," he said.
Nelson has been truck driving for 17 years and he just added the Pacific Northwest to his routes recently.
While chains might help sedans and SUVS, he said he will pull over and call it a day when chain laws go into effect.
The truck he drives cost almost $300,000 and that's not including the cargo it's carrying. So, to him, the risk's not worth it.
"You can start going up a mountain, even with chains, and then start going backwards because you lose momentum. Well at that point you're a runaway truck and even worse, you're a runaway truck going in reverse," Nelson said.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has tips for driving during winter that include: avoid using cruise control, leaving more space in between the car in front of you and remembering all-wheel drive vehicles don't stop better on ice. Also, having chains in your car is a good idea.
Washington State Patrol enforces the traffic laws and trooper Chris Thorson said they make sure people have chains when needed.
"If you go up on to the pass and actually get into a collision and you don't have chains on your vehicle, you can receive an extra citation for not following those orders," he said.
The ticket is $500 dollars for not having the proper equipment and it could cost a whole lot more if you get a semi to crash as well.
Nelson also says many truck drivers now have cameras on their vehicles because if they get into an accident, the cost of the damaged cargo falls on them.
So, if they can prove that someone else caused the crash, that person could be paying thousands of dollars to cover the cost.