Truck drivers prepare for upcoming snowstorm

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jan 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-09 22:24:11-05

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — Many truck drivers are racing against the clock as a snowstorm makes it's way into West Michigan. At the 76th Street Truck Stop in Byron Center, it's apparent with many drivers who were stopping by.

"When a snowstorm on the way, truckers get in and out of here as fast as possible," said Brittany Moon, a cashier at the 76th Street Truck stop. "That's their main goal, trying to get loads out of here so fast."

The 76th Street Truck Stop offers a safe haven for truckers, especially when driving conditions deteriorate. Not only is the truck stop a place to park a semi, drivers may also take shower and even get a bite to eat at the Truck Stop Diner.

"We're very comfortable about letting people stay here if it's that bad. We'll let them stay in the parking lot. We have a lot of opportunity out here," said Moon.

The approaching snowstorm is nothing new for drivers like Ron Holt, he's been driving semi's for over 5 years.

"We are the captain of our ship. If the conditions aren't safe, we are allowed to find a safe place to park and shut down," said Holt.

And that's exactly what he does. So far this year Holt hasn't had to park his semi for the night due to weather conditions. Last year, Holt parked three times due to weather.

"If I can't drive at least 40 miles-per-hour, then its not safe to be on the road. I get off the road because I'm a hazard to other truckers that don't respect and they run 60 (miles-per-hour) right past you and blow all of that snow on to your windows," said Holt.

Michigan isn't the only state seeing measurable snowfall. Rafael Barto drove to Michigan from Arizona and California, he say's roads were snow covered in Flagstaff, Arizona. Driving in snow, like many, is not Barto's favorite thing to do.

"You have to do it, but you don't want to do it," said Barto.

At the Kent County Road Commission, officials are watching the clock and waiting the right time to begin treating area roads.

"We've called our night crew, which is normally off on Saturday night, and told them to report in at 10-o-clock so we'll get a jump on that storm," said Jerry Byrne, Maintenance Director at the Kent County Road Commission.

A snowstorm arriving during the weekend is much easier to manage for road crews, compared to snowstorms arriving during the work week.

"The good news is that it's Sunday, so you have very few people that have to go to work. You have the shoppers, you have folks that have go to church, typically its not as critical to be on time to church as it is for work," said Byrne.

For the latest travel information, visit the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Interactive Traffic Map.