Ice Road Truckers: The Reality Behind the Reality TV Show

In June 2007, the History Channel premiered Ice Road Truckers as its latest reality TV show. The program followed truck drivers who cross dangerous terrain, such as frozen lakes and mountain passes, in order to complete their deliveries. The show is currently on its 6th season and continues to be a ratings success for the station.

Ice Road Truckers had an additional effect beyond earning money; it created fan interest in the trucking industry. Enthusiasts saw the long, deadly journeys as heroic and wanted to earn a living as a trucker.

But any real truck driver knows that the job involves long hours, having a clear focus, lengthy periods of isolation, and aversion to risk. Plus, the long haul is not nearly as glamorous as portrayed on the show. It takes a level of fearlessness that borders on insanity to push your rig onto a frozen lake, knowing it could crack at any second.

Any distance trucking has inherent risks, but ice road is even more life-threatening. Unfortunately, this is a position that must be filled, because the citizens living in these remote areas rely on the deliveries for food, oil, clothes, medicine, and other important supplies.

Very Well-Compensated

Of course, no person would take the chance without some sort of benefit, and the brave men and women who perform this task receive a healthy paycheck.

Because the ice roads are often only navigable for 2-4 months per year while the ice is thick enough, the truckers work non-stop, back and forth, making deliveries. For their effort, most make enough money in 3 months to live off of the entire year.

The ice roads are closely monitored and the trucks are tightly controlled to ensure the supplies arrive at their destination. Vehicles in convoys are each given a lane to drive and must cautiously creep across the ice at safe speeds.

If you are interested in becoming an ice road trucker, the industry is always seeking new workers. If you can prove that you have the ability to maintain speeds, drive a large truck, and stay calm in the face of danger, this could be the field for you.

Skidding in a Winter Wonderland

You job might not be as deadly as an ice road trucker’s, but driving a semi, dump truck, or cement mixer comes with its own set of challenges, which only increase during the winter. Make sure you obey traffic laws, closely follow weather reports, and inspect your rig before each trip to maintain safety.

Read our recent blog about holiday tips for extra safety recommendations.