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Bitter cold not the only danger for tow truck drivers, stranded motorists

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — The deep freeze is impacting people all across the area, including drivers who find themselves stranded on the side of the road.
If you’ve driven on the highway the past couple of days you’ve probably seen broken down semis on the side of the road.
But have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a truck driver trapped inside one or the tow truck driver that comes to rescue him?
Forrest Reynolds/Semi Driver: “My truck just decided it didn’t want to run,” semi driver Forrest Reynolds says.
Reynolds is one of many truckers who’ve been stranded on the side of a highway in these temperatures.
“My truck just lost power, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on with it,” he says.
When his semi lost power it also lost heat, so Reynolds waited for his manager to pick him up before the tow truck could get there.
“They said it was going to be two hours because the tow trucks in the area are so busy right now, before somebody could even get over here,” he says.
“We’ve been non-stop busy,” Tom Plummer tells us.
Plummer from Robinson’s Wrecker Service says his company hauled more than 20 semis Wednesday, working him until one in the morning.
It’s a dangerous and cold job, one he’s done for the past 20 years.
And he learned early on to be prepared for the bitter weather.
“You always want to layer yourself. Just coats, extra jackets, long johns, Carhartts,” Plummer says.
He’s seen his share of broken down semis, and says while the cold can freeze a semi’s brakes, it can also freeze a fuel line.
“Basically as the temperature drops, the diesel gels up and turns into basically like a Jello. It just can’t take it. People aren’t planning ahead. There’s additives you can put into the fuel to help it to not gel, and people aren’t planning ahead. They’re just dumping it in at the last minute and expecting it to work and it’s not,” he says.
That advice applies to your car, as well.
Before you fill it up, you might want to put a bottle of gas line antifreeze in first, so it can mix with the gas as you pump it.
Because no matter what you’re driving, you don’t want to end up on the side of the road, shivering, waiting for a tow truck to get to you.
Police say if you are stranded on the side of the highway, that is an emergency in these weather conditions. So go ahead and call 911. And another thing, if you see somebody stranded on the side of the road, especially if a tow truck driver is working, move over to the next lane so that it’s safer for them and for you.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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