Ice Road Trucker
I am an Ice Road Trucker!
Well, not like the show. I don’t own a pair of Carharts, I definitely don’t have a man-beard, I don’t swear (at least not regularly), and I don’t drive a Mack, Peterbilt, or a Freightliner.
However, I did drive my truck (Toyota Tacoma) on some icy roads the other day. Here is what I learned:
1. Main-roads are for the masses
As I began the adventure of driving home in a Northwest arctic blast, it was obvious to see that everyone wanted to get home and everyone was taking the same route to get there. Not me. I decided that the main road…which was going nowhere fast…was for the masses. I am not one of them. I chose a back road shortcut. I didn’t know if my “shortcut” would be shorter, but I did know it was worth a shot. Just because everybody is doing it doesn’t mean you should too…sometimes the greatest adventure and reward is off the beaten path.
2. Don’t assume too much
Having lived in Colorado for about the last decade, I forgot how snow falls in the NW. I assumed the storm was no big deal cause it was nothing compared to the snowfall in CO. On icy roads and in life often times people assume too much. Their ability to negotiate tricky turns is compromised because of their faulty assumptions. I didn’t crash, so no worries, but it was crazier than I had expected. I quickly went from assuming it was no big deal, to paying attention to every moment.
3. Learn from those in front
I quickly became a student of those driving in front of me. I didn’t need to lead, following was just fine. I watched as the vehicle in front of me chose their path and then negotiated said path. I made calculations based on their performance…speed variations and course modifications were two things I watched closely to learn from those in front. Sometimes you blaze your own trail while other times you modify the trail that was already blazed.
4. Sometimes you gotta let it slide
Don’t panic. Sometimes you just gotta let it slide. Sliding is a part of driving successfully on ice. You want to keep the sliding to a minimum but if you understand that it will happen you won’t panic. Panic is perhaps the greatest cause for accidents on an icy road. Life and leadership is much the same…don’t panic…let it slide.
5. Your route may be changed by someone else
At one point in this adventure of mine, I was on top of a fairly steep, extremely narrow, obviously icy road. A vehicle was stuck close to the shoulder on my right…blocking most of my lane. As I slowly began to embark on the carefully selected route to safely negotiate the hill while avoiding any interaction with the afore-mentioned stuck vehicle, another vehicle, decided to play chicken with me. They began to barrel up the hill directly at my truck. I decided, rather than be stubborn and risk a collision, to maneuver to the right and let them pass. They changed my course, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Sometimes people or circumstances will barrel in on your plan and force you to adjust your course…it isn’t anything you can’t handle. Adjust and keep going.