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Hugh Rowland of Ice Road Truckers Deadliest Roads tell Nur Aqidah Azizi why he keeps going back for more despite the dangers
THE road to success can be deadly. In the second season of Ice Road Truckers Deadliest Roads, Lisa Kelly, Hugh Rowland and Rick Yemm, three of the toughest North American truckers, are driven to extremes in one of the world’s most unforgiving environments — the Andes.
As they cross borders to navigate the highways of South America, this fearless trio encounter some of the deadliest roads in history. Everything they’ve learnt in more than 40 years of combined experience is tested in nerve-rattling conditions they’ve never experienced before.
Whether it’s driving along 300m cliffs or dodging avalanches, skill and ingenuity go full-throttle.
The show will premiere on History Channel (Astro Channel 555) on May 10 at 10pm.
We spoke to Rowland recently, and here is the excerpt of the interview:
How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the show?
I am on the road three months a year. Every year, as it gets closer I will ready my trucks and prepare myself mentally for it. I make all the money I can make and make as many trips as I can and know I’m going to have a little fun doing it.
In terms of experience, can you describe the difference between the Himalayas and the Andes?
Two different regions but both with dangerous roads. I think the Andes’ trail (South America) is more deadly. In the three months we were there, 45 people were killed on those roads.
How involved were you in the production (site recce prior to the show)?
I was very much involved with the loads we take, I have to know where we’re going. I have to tell them how long it’ll take to get to the destination.
Of all the routes you’ve driven, which is the most testing?
I don’t really know. I have to deal with the weather, snow storms, avalanches, mud slides, rock slides etc. So there’s a lot of stuff over there. There aren’t specific routes that are testing to me.
What’s the difference between driving alone and having the TV crews tagging along? Do you feel the pressure of the latter?
I did at first. Most truckers have a few passengers with them while I only allow one and not for very long. I’m getting used to having random guys around though, as this has been going on for seven years.
Do you have a spotter with you while you drive and what does he do?
When you can’t see where you are going or are getting close to the edge, they are supposed to alert you. But my spotter quit on me. I’m not going to let anybody else drive my truck. I figure that if I’m going to die, I’m going to do it myself. It’s not going to be somebody else driving off the cliff for me. (laughs)
What was the most unforgettable experience this season?
I never really had a moment. I just had a real good time doing it. It was really fun. The roads were wild. They got your heart pumping. Some of them never had trucks on them before. I thought the views were amazing.
That’s what I love— going to different places driving their roads, seeing the world and being able to do what I do. It’s all unforgettable. It’s just amazing.
With near fatal situations at times, do you sometimes rethink what you’ll do?
No. It just comes naturally to me. I look forward to do it every year.
What are the safety measures you take?
There are no safety measures. It’s reality. For example, if I tell you guys to jump, I’m already out the door. So there are no real safety measures.
What is your scariest experience?
I don’t have only one. I have fallen on the ice, been hit by an avalanche and been stuck in snow storms for three or four days at that time. The scariest was probably when I was taking a leak at the side of my truck when all of a sudden, I saw a wolf.
Do you ever strategise when you drive?
My strategy is to go as fast as I can. The faster I go, the more money I make (laughs). I just keep on going. I don’t really have a strategy. I just like to get my load there in one piece and go back for a reload.
What are the must-have things that you take on the road?
It depends on where I am at. You have to take the warmest clothes. You’ve got to be able to be ready for anything. My survival kit is always to take food and water. Anything can happen out there. I’ve been stranded for days in snow storms. You’ve got to be ready or you’ll die. And you can’t leave your truck because the polar bears and wolves will get you. You either freeze to death or some animal will eat you.
Describe your whole experience in one word?
If you are not on the road, what do you do?
I own a construction company and I load big and heavy equipment. I do everything from building roads to sewers.