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Wind gusts up to 50 MPH impacting local truck drivers

'It takes a toll on the driver, it fatigues you mentally and physically.'

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 4:30 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2019 4:34 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- While some may be able to avoid travel just as a precaution, others can't because their whole life is on the road. Today, NewsWatch12's Cassidy Delamarter spoke with truck drivers to find out how this weather impacts them.

There is a wind advisory in affect for Southern Oregon and Northern California throughout the weekend. High winds make truck drivers' jobs harder.

Frank Galatioto, an owner and operator at TP Trucking, said "A lot of times you white-knuckle-grip, it takes a toll on the driver, it fatigues you mentally and physically."

There's more than 150 drivers working for TP Trucking in Central Point. Some told NewsWatch12 the last few weeks have been tough on them, especially because of weather across the country. Wind is especially dangerous when driving a big truck.

Ramona Chisum, the TP Trucking supervisor, said, "You have no control, I mean it just blows you right over."

Chisum was a truck driver for 30 years before transitioning into her current role. From her experiences, she learned wind is always a challenge for truck drivers.

"You've got between 65 and 75 feet of space being blown on by the wind," she explained. "It's very possible that the semi-truck could be blown around into your lane."

Galatioto describes it like a "parachute" when the wind hits the semi-truck just right. 

"When you can actually look out your mirror and see the tires...," Galatioto said. "...that's because the trailer has moved over far enough for the trailer to be seen by the wind pushing it. It gets scary."

Chisum's advice for drivers on the road next to 18-wheelers is simple: "Slow down, increase your following distance and be well aware of your surroundings the whole time."

Truck drivers also say if you're going to pass, do it. Don't hang out by a truck's side.

"You need to make sure their escape route is still open for them," Chisum said.  And most importantly, regardless of what you drive, if you don't feel comfortable driving, don't. That's a lesson Galatioto says he learned ten years ago when he was still considered a student driver.

"I had to park the truck - it was blowing me all over the road," he said. "And I was like I'm done and I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't feel safe keeping the truck on the road, so I stopped [driving]."

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