Extreme Transport: Ice Road Truckers Jobs

Ice Road Truckers has become an obsession for many worldwide, after the TV show launched in 2007. After nine successive seasons, it has gained popularity and notoriety as a show that will have you on the edge of your seat. But the lifestyle isn’t as glamorous as it appears onscreen.

These ice road truckers epitomize extreme transportation. The journeys they make on the ice-roads of Canada’s far north are highly dangerous. The roadways are only available for part of the year, essentially lying over large frozen lakes. Transport is non-stop for several months, with drivers earning their yearly salary in this time, before the ice deteriorates. The journeys they make are necessary, supplying barely-accessible areas with oil, food, medical supplies or construction materials and machinery. Combined with the nerves of steel and slight insanity of its cast, it’s no surprise the show has been such a success.

The drivers need to be extremely skilled and cope well under pressure. Specialist companies who measure the thickness of the ice and assess the relative safety of each journey carefully monitor the ice-roads. The trucks are never alone, always in convoy, with a set speed and distance to ensure that the weight of the trucks doesn’t cause the ice to flex and create swells of water that could break the ice. Often the ice will only hold 60,000 lbs of stationary weight, so any breakdowns can be lethal.

The job isn’t without its tragedies. Only two years ago a former British soldier, Brett Colley, who pursued his dream of becoming an ice road trucker, was tragically killed when his truck left the highway close to Pink Mountain in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Accidents do happen in such a risky career.

While these North American daredevils have gained a significant amount of media attention, they’re not the only ice-road truckers in the world. A similar story can be found in Siberia. Travelling the region’s only all-weather road, the Kolyma Highway, more ominously known as ‘the Road of Bones’ due to its grim construction history, these truckers supply remote areas with the goods they need. There is little difference between the two locations, apart from perhaps more extreme weather conditions in Siberia where temperatures of -60°C are the norm.

Posted in categories: Health and Safety, Trucks