Whether you’re an avid connoisseur of reality television, or simply an average BC driver intrigued by life on the road, you’re likely familiar with Discovery Channel’s series: Highway Thru Hell (cue flaming asphalt).
The frosty Coquihalla and Fraser Canyon highways set the stage for this nail-biting glimpse into the challenges of travelling between Hope and Kamloops in winter conditions. And although you may expect the truckers to be the main players in this performance, it’s actually the unique talents (and personas) of the Jamie Davis Rescue Crew, based in Hope, that attract the spotlight. These heavy lifters look out for the stuck, snowed-in and overturned vehicles that need a lift out of the highways’ icy clutches.
While showing what it takes to keep these BC Southern Interior highways open under extreme conditions, Highway Thru Hell also teaches some important lessons, not only to commercial truck drivers, but to everyone who gets behind the wheel. Here’s a list of five that stand out.
1. Check DriveBC for highway updates before beginning your trip
Highway Thru Hell shows how quickly weather can change, especially at the high elevations reached by B.C. highways. Before even getting in your vehicle, knowing what to expect on the roads can go a long way in helping you avoid extreme weather and closed routes. At the very least, an early warning reminds you to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the trip ahead.
2. Keep emergency supplies in your vehicle
No one expects their trip to get stalled, whether due to vehicle failure or incident. But as the crew’s rescue supply truck driver Kevin Ritchie points out, it’s important to always be prepared with a few essential items. Here’s a handy checklist for when the snow hits the fan.
3. Take action, get traction
Go ahead – just watch the first episode and try to count the number of drivers who lose traction making their way up the Coquihalla. Low profile tires are effective for tight cornering on dry, not icy, roads. Winter tires prove that the proper rubber can be more valuable than gold when it comes to staying in control. And truckers should know when to use chains and strap ’em on when conditions warrant.
4. Adjust your speed to road conditions and keep your distance
Posted speed limits are recommendations for ideal conditions; you know, those sunny, dry days when you’ve got the top down and your summer tires gripping like a firm handshake. But more care is needed when weather turns nasty and road surfaces become slippery. In a Highway Thru Hell episode, a one-vehicle tow job turns into a multi-vehicle pileup after trailing vehicles can’t stop in time.
5. Stuck and snowing? Stay buckled up in your vehicle
The same slippery conditions that got you stuck can just as easily affect oncoming vehicles. The safest place to be is inside your car with your seatbelt buckled and four-ways flashing until help arrives. You may even get to meet a television celebrity.
We need to shake the “that’ll never happen to me” mindset when it comes to unexpected emergencies. Sure, sometimes it takes a little drama to hammer home winter driving precautions. The ministry’s maintenance contractors battle hard against the elements to keep roads open, but Highway Thru Hell does a good job breathing life into the risks involved with driving in the winter while showing what we can do to avoid those risks. Who said reality TV isn’t educational?
Page 1 of 14 comments on “5 Things to Learn from Watching Highway Thru Hell”
I am now addicted to the show. Thanks to the @Discovery channel I could catch up on the previous shows and in the past 2 years got to watch the new shows. Amazing to see the things happening on the Coquihalla and the number of people and equipment it takes to keep the roads open as Closing them is not an option”.
Thanks for your comments, Emery. We are glad to hear you like the show and have learned how hard we work to keep traffic moving safely and smoothly on BC Highways. To be clear though, if there are concerns with the safety of the travelling public, we will close a highway; however, we do everything we can (salting, sanding, plowing as well as the enforcement of chain ups, and other safety measures) to prevent it from getting to that point. We encourage you to check out our other content to get a behind the scenes glimpse of our version of life on BC highways: https://www.tranbc.ca/?s=Coquihalla+
Its always hard when driving in extreme cold weather conditions. However, If you following safety guidelines and have proper knowledge of towing then it can save you from many issues including break down on highway due to overweight and inflated tires!
Love the show. No serious…I LOVE THAT SHOW 😍. As I’ve now been able to travel to bc over the past 6 years, I’ve gained an appreciation for mountain driving and being prepared for anything while on the roads. I credit the show with highlighting(for me) the dangers that lurk in the mountains and what to do when coming across such a scene. Cheers to many more years of #hwythruhell
I am addicted to Highway thru Hell and visiting the show location is on my bucket list for next year.. it would be such a rush to drive on the same roads .. i can’t wait
Ii love thi show but can’t find it now. Please let me know where and when it’s on thank you
The show was produced by the Discovery Channel and more information about it can be found on their website here: http://www.discovery.ca/Shows/Highway-Thru-Hell
Hope that this helps!
My wife really loves this show and so do I
I do not want to watch highway thru hell when they have a momma’s BOY trying all the other people he still has his earrings on and was told not to. If you would watch some of the series Mr Davis you will see your little boy has a chip on his shoulder and you are holding it up for him if he is going to continue to act like a spoiled brat perhaps he should be back to school.
Jamie’s stepson, Brandon has cleaned up his act.
I was with you early on back a couple of years ago when Brandon definitely had an attitude that just made me want to drive to Hope to personally give this punk kid a real swift kick in ass and a slap to the back of his head.
But from what little that Brandon has been in the show this year (2018) he has actually grown up and acted so much more mature.
The tire debate is best exemplified by the cars littering the ditch on sea to sky highway 99. SUV & AWD will get you going, but steering and stopping require 4 winter tires. 99 is a bad mix of over-zealous locals, looky-loo tourists, and commercial traffic. The “new” highway has done nothing for driver education.
I have had to drive in all kinds of weather coming down from Canada to Rochester, N.Y. Just give me a stick shift car and some winter gear and I can go anywhere. I am also a “Davis” family person and we just don’t run inside when there is a storm! I watch Jamie and his guys with admiration. Good for you…those of you who are backing another season of shows! KJBACHMAN
Your words of wisdom about driving on winter highways are well worth hearing over and over again, especially for those who think they don’t need any advice. Thanks!! KJB
Glad to hear that, thanks!