There’s something horrifying about watching a tractor trailer, weighed down with supplies, sliding slowly off an icy highway and into a ditch. It’s a bit of a mind-blower to witness the effect millimetres of frozen water has on such a big beast. But it’s something Jamie Davis and his staff see almost every day during winter travel on the Coquihalla Highway and he’s made a career out of it.
This Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery, Highway Thru Hell rolls on with 13 new episodes, documenting the successes, drama and disappointment that involves Davis, his staff and competitors. It takes a special type of person to go into the freezing cold and pull rigs off chunks of highway with nicknames like “The Smasher,” but it’s just another day for Big Al, who’s at the helm of Quiring Towing; within minutes of the Season 4 return he’s helping the occupants away from their smashed car, worried they’ll be injured by a sliding rig.
Meanwhile in Lac La Biche, Davis is busier than ever, and has expanded his fleet to cover not just the oil fields but Edmonton itself.
And while you can rest assured the Coq gets slippery in winter, there are changes afoot in Season 4. Davis’ right-hand man, Howie, left to work for a city-based towing company to be closer to his family, and Adam cut ties to work for a rival outfit in B.C., meaning Colin has to step into the role. Colin’s first job? To pull a tractor trailer upright using the rotator, a tougher machine to operate than a tow truck, and newbie John has two decades of towing on his resumé, but must prove he belongs on the B.C. team.
What I like about Highway Thru Hell is the lack of extra fluff. Sure, we learn the personal stories of the folks working these snowy strips of asphalt, but the focus is almost always on the men and women putting their lives on the line to help others out of a tight spot. (And kudos to the producers, who often include a quick science lesson as to how these trucks ended up in their precarious positions.) I may not have the skill-set to drive a tow truck and haul rigs around, but I can certainly appreciate and salute those who do.
And man, does it look stunning in HD.
Highway Thru Hell airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.