YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you stepped outside Thursday, you probably felt the strength of the wind. For those behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck, the driving was a bit treacherous.
The wind howled at 40 to even 50 miles per hour across the Valley. Gusts at that speed can cause dangerous conditions for people on the road, especially truck drivers.
“It was blowing me side to side. I just have to keep it steady,” said truck driver Bruce Knickerbochker.
Another driver, Tim Cooper, said hauling a large load can be difficult in extreme weather conditions, such as on Thursday.
“It’s hard to keep it on the road,” he said. “This acts like a sail. It makes you fishtail, and keeping it in a lane is a lot harder.”
If the winds pack a strong enough punch, large trucks and trailers can be pushed or flipped. Truckers say they change up their driving strategy to stay safe in these conditions.
“I slow down to a safe speed, if I have to drop down to 45, I just take it easy,” Knickerbochker said.
And they recommend other drivers do as well.
“Don’t cut in front of anybody. Use your judgement,” Cooper said. “We are like 80,000 pounds at 65 miles per hour. It takes a full football field to stop one of these.”
The Ohio State Highway Patrol recommends giving semi trucks extra space and says to hang on tight and keep both hands firmly on the wheel when the wind speeds pick up.
“In these conditions, you do need to pay attention at all times. Don’t mess around with the cell phone,” Lt. Brad Bucey said.