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Hugh Rowland Describes The Dangerous Conditions That Froze His Fingertips Off On Ice Road Truckers

Driving in inclement weather can sometimes be a harrowing experience for drivers. Beset by pounding rain, lashing winds, and ceaseless snow, even normal drivers can struggle to make it home or to their places of employment in the continental United States. Most people probably have at least one or two stories about some weather event that turned some simple trip into some taxing ordeal, and most of these people probably aren't getting paid to drive professionally.

However, there are some among us that laugh in the face of bad weather, and it isn't just the United States Postal Service. "Ice Road Truckers" is a popular reality television series that ran from 2007 to 2017, and it follows several truckers that brave some of the most dangerous conditions imaginable. Often trailblazing their way through remote arctic conditions, these truckers are charged with moving vital supplies in hard to reach areas, usually on makeshift roads, which sometimes go across frozen bodies of water. Needless to say, it takes a certain kind of individual to engage in such a profession, and the job usually takes a certain amount of intelligence, resourcefulness, and measured recklessness. Hugh Rowland appears in eight seasons of "Ice Road Truckers," and he once described some of the brutal conditions that he himself has experienced, and it definitely isn't for the faint of heart.

Rowland lost his finger tips due to -60 degree weather

According to IMDb, Hugh Rowland appears in 112 episodes of "Ice Road Truckers," with his final appearance in Season 8 of the popular show. As noted by Biography Research, Rowland started working at the age of 11 at a local construction sight, where he took his money and invested in cattle. At the age of 20, Rowland began to brave icy and inhospitable conditions as a trucker, where he accrued over 30 years of experience before appearing on "Ice Road Truckers." In other words, Rowland is a seasoned truck driver that has had plenty of experience with some of the worst driving imaginable.

Speaking with Hollywood Soapbox in 2012, Rowland spoke about one of the most dangerous conditions any frontier trucker might come across, and that is when temperatures drop to 60 below. He then said, "I've froze just about every part of my body. I've froze the end of my fingers off. They were black, turned rotten. I froze my cheeks, my nose. I froze my knees, my toes. I froze everything. ... I've been in a snowstorm where my truck has been completely covered in a drift, and I've been stuck there for three days." He then added that this kind of profession requires individuals who want to be there, while at the same time respecting the icy and sometimes deadly conditions. Rowland continued and explained that the moment somebody doesn't respect the ice, people can get hurt and potentially die due to recklessness.

Extreme cold can cause an assortment of health related issues

It is probably safe to assume that many people on this planet have never experienced temperatures as low as negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which sounds dangerous enough as is. According to Live Science, the typical temperature of a human being hovers around 98 degrees, but once that core temperature drops to below 95, one can experience hypothermia. As such, humans can experience this condition in temperatures as high as 50 degrees if they are wet from rain, sweat, or submersion. However, when temperatures drop below zero degrees, the human body is in a dangerous spot, and at -30 a human that isn't properly dressed can be afflicted with hypothermia in less than ten minutes. At -40, that time limit drops to around five minutes.

In addition to hypothermia, humans can experience organ failure and frostbite, which is a side effect of the bodies attempt to maintain homeostasis. Frostbite can easily occur with subzero temperatures, resulting in the loss of toes, fingers, and other extremities. While promoting his book "On Thin Ice: Breakdowns, Whiteouts, and Survival on the World's Deadliest Roads," Hugh Rowland told Shelf Awareness, "I've lost 35 friends and relatives to the ice. Most of the truckers who've gone down — it was due to neglect, to lack of attention, to speeding. You have to listen to the ice–that's why I keep my window down even if it's 60 below." With all of this in mind, and Rowland's words, one should always be prepared in icy conditions if even a veteran like Rowland can suffer. Willpower can only take somebody so far before the environment can take its dangerous toll.