IRT: Deadliest Roads
Ice Road Truckers is a History Channel reality TV show that follows the true lives of a group of truckers who for eight weeks in the year, haul goods on ice roads – literally over the frozen lakes in Alaska – in a race against time, and each other, competing to see who can deliver the most tonnage before the ice melts.
It seemed like a crazy concept, but as a TV show was not only entertaining, but fascinating to watch as well.
Now the History Channel have created a spinoff series titled IRT: Deadliest Roads where three of the toughest Ice Road truckers, Rick Yemm, Alex Debogorski, and Lisa Kelly travel to India and put their driving skills to the test, from the crowded streets of Delhi to the narrow, treacherous mountain roads that lead up to Shimla, then on up to a hydroelectric dam construction site in the Himalayas.
This series wasn’t so much about competing against each other, more just trying to stay alive. The traffic (and driving attitudes of Indians) was so bad in Delhi that after two accidents before managing to leave the city, veteran driver Alex Debogorsk decided to call it a day before he’d really started. Debogorsk gets replaced by Alabama trucker Dave Redmon and we get into the nasty mountain roads and dangerous driving of the Indians that combine to make the often repeated statistic that someone dies on these roads every 4.5 minutes.
Having to deal with drivers who over take on blind corners, lean on the horn if you don’t move out of their way and witnessing so many close calls on the sealed roads in the foothills does nothing to prepare the three intrepid drivers for what’s to come. As the roads deteriorate the higher you go, with thousand foot sheer drops off the side, the locals driving does not improve one bit.
The roads (if you can call them that) that these truckers have to haul loads up defy description. Not only are they perilously perched on the side of mountains, they are literally falling apart and the carcasses of trucks, busses and cars litter the valleys below.
And if you though that would be enough to make America’s toughest truckers up and quit, it gets worse. The trucks they are driving are made of wood and offer no protection. These trucks are often overloaded and the loads themselves tied on in rather haphazard looking ways. It’s a constant battle to keep the locals from overloading your truck and making the journey from treacherous to life threatening.
And it makes for great watching – though you do have to deal with the very America way of reality TV, where they show you the same clip about a bajillion times whilst making it out to be much more dangerous than it is on the voice over.
Just as you get used to the roads up to the dam site, and begin wondering if there is anymore to this show, the truckers get a new assignment: deliver goods to the isolated town of Keylong cut off during the winter months and in desperate ned of supplies. It will mean conquering the Rohtang Pass over the Himalayas. And to make things worse, we are told (quite often) that Rohtang Pass translates to “pile of corpses.”
It’s a crazy job that pretty much pushes each driver to their limits, and for two of them, it pushes too far leaving only one of the truckers to complete all the deliveries.
Reviewed by: Jonathan