Tales from the Atlanta Ice Storm

on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in Life on the Road

This past Tuesday, I was one of the unfortunate ones merging off of I-85 south and onto the 285 beltway around Atlanta. It was around 12:30 and I was 12 miles from I-75 north. I was aware of the weather, but unaware of what was to transpire over the next seven hours.

Although moving very slowly for the first two hours at two to three miles-per-hour, road conditions were acceptable. It was at the beginning of hour three that it all went to hell as the interstate became a sheet of ice in the no man’s land of 285; without a shoulder large enough and no exits with any safe havens.

The point of my writing to you is to commend TMC for its choice and Peterbilt on the technology installed in this 579. Approaching the first iced over 2% upgrade I began freaking out watching all the big rigs spin out attempting to climb up it. As I approach the incline, stop and go, I was sure my destiny was the same. As I let off the clutch I felt my drive tire spin for a brief instance, watched my ATC indicator light up and slowly began to move up the hill. I had three to four stop and goes on that hill and never spun out.

My focus immediately went ahead to the downside of the hill and what was in store for me. I kept her in first, maintained a minimum 50-yard buffer between me and the vehicle ahead, and prepared for the slide down. That slide never happened. Creeping down at maybe two mph she stood her ground and did not slip once.

Seven hours later I arrived safely at a Walmart 17 miles from where I began to encounter the weather. My experience is a testament and validation that if driven based on road conditions, that this tractor will do as she is designed to do, safely. Much love for my rig now, more than before and much appreciation to Peterbilt and TMC for purchasing it.

Roger Ihle, Jr.
TMC Driver