Ice Road Truckers Review

Last night I watched an Ice Road Truckers episode on the History Channel. I didn’t watch the entire hour, but when I woke up from my snooze a couple hours later, another episode was on. I realized that the History Channel was showing this seasons episodes in succession.

I have to be honest, I am not sure I’ll be looking forward to next seasons round of shows. How many times can you talk to the same driver and get another angle of what his or her job is like. The episode that I watched included a “convoy” owner and his somewhat inexperienced drivers. The usual attitudes, problems and social life issues were “exposed” and weren’t too different from those of us who truck in the lower 48. The only real difference between what we do and what those guys up in the Yukon do is that they drive for a living on frozen lakes.

The thing I found most interesting about the Ice Road Truckers was the way they had to drive on the frozen lakes. I didn’t realize that the weight of a fully loaded truck caused a wave effect under the ice and when two opposing waves collide, it causes the ice to “blow up” in so many words. When the ice blows up, it causes an immediate hole in the ice and the trucks can fall through. Care must be taken to drive slow enough on the ice to prevent large waves under the ice and to slow down when passing another truck. Drivers also have to worry about thinning ice and weak spots caused by the constant movement of trucks over the ice. Another worry for the Ice Road Truckers is constant breakdowns in -50F degree weather. Did you know that if a truck idles on a frozen lake for too long, the constant vibration of the trucks idle will eventually cause cracks in the ice and the possibility of falling through the ice is very real.

Ice Road Truckers was very interesting from a “scientific” point of view. The constant road maintenance and methods of thickening the ice were very informative and gave me new insight into the problems faced by road crews who keep the ice roads open. As for life on the road and the personal problems faced by the actual drivers, it was probably not necessary to cover that much information in the show.

I am wondering if the producers of Ice Road Truckers were looking for “filler” to keep the show going? It seemed as if they took an idea from another show, Most Dangerous Catch, and added a trucking twist to the show. I can see viewers turning the channel when they realize that there isn’t much new information episode to episode. Unfortunately, it seems as if the camera people or producers of the show are glorified ambulance chasers looking for the next good shot of a truck falling through the ice or running off the road. If that were the premise of the show, I could certainly suggest that the producers spend a month on the winter roads of the mid-west or northwest.

As a professional driver, I respect the jobs the truckers of the Yukon do over the course of 60 days or so every winter, but I don’t appreciate the way the producers of Ice Road Truckers look for tragedy to sell the show. I just can’t give a “thumbs up” for Ice Road Truckers.

If you are a die-hard fan of Ice Road Truckers, here is a link to where you can purchase the entire first season on DVD:

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2 comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your comments on the show. I feel the same way. The show makes me feel like there are people up there who are either crazy, brave or desperate and then there are those poeple who take advantage of that by producing a show capitalizing on their misfortunes. But that’s probably because we are gluttons for drama and somehow lost the ability to be inspired.
    I think that those folks out there who are truckin’ across the mid-west and other areas all have their challenges and dangers to face and their courage and perseverance is inspiring!

  2. After viewing and enjoying one episode, I’ll think twice before I purchase more episodes. The video brought back not-so-fond memories many years ago, driving in December from Denver to Colorado Springs. I was in a car but I couldn’t believe what I witnessed with the truck and bus drivers. After sitting in the middle of the Interstate for 4 hours, we got the go ahead to proceed at about 3 a.m. from the State Police. It seems Monument Hill was the problem. Well, the whole parade of vehicles behind me ripped past me so fast, I couldn’t see a thing as the dry Colorado snow hung like a solid white mountain right before my eyes. I proceeded 5-7 mph and soon off to my left was a bus in the median. There was luggage strewn across the highway, people were walking in and off the roadway as if they were attending a midnight rock fest of some sort. Slowly, I proceeded further. Off to my right were cars and maybe one truck in the ditch. More people wandering around in front of me. I could barely see. I just slowly meandered my way through the mess not knowing if I was on the road or ready to take a plunge off of a cliff. Eventually, I got to Colo. Sprgs about 6 a.m. No, you don’t need to go to the Yukon for thrills or whatever. After this ordeal, I wanted to write a book on the experience. It would have been titled, “Men in Danger: How One Accountant Survived Monument Hill”. The book never got written – maybe it’s just as well.

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