Metro truckers urge drivers to share the road in wintry conditions

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Travis McGinley is one of the elite drivers for Kansas City’s Star Transport trucking company. But even with his calm nerves and years of practice behind the wheel, the first dose of winter weather can give this veteran trucker a rough ride.

It’s not so much the slick roads that make the wintry conditions stressful. It’s the careless, sometimes reckless, attitude of other drivers on the road.

“Sometimes (other drivers) signal, sometimes no signal,” McGinley said. “If it’s slick outside, sometimes 10-12 car lengths isn’t enough, depending on how fast you’re going.”

That’s why, especially during winter months, McGinley makes a regular truck stop at Kraft Tank in KCK to make sure his rig is ready for anything.

“Interstate driving around 435 and 635 is getting much worse for our drivers,” said Jason Hotzel, a manager with Star Transport.

Hotzel said, in normal driving conditions, an average-sized sedan will need the length of a football field to stop in highway traffic. An 80,000 pound 18-wheeler will need twice that distance.

And when you factor in slick, snowy conditions, Hotzel said inconsiderate driving can be a recipe for a disaster.

“You’re putting yourself in danger. You’re putting our drivers in danger. You’re putting any cars that might be around our truck in danger,” Hotzel said, “because they won’t be able to stop, and things can happen in an instant.”