Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Jackknifed semi
Togwotee Pass
May 1979
A jackknifed semi can bring traffic to a halt, especially on a slick mountain pass. I remember being glad the cattle hauler was empty because if it had been loaded, the process to clear the road would have been more involved and the delay much longer. Unexpected incidents like this are good reasons to always have a tank full of gas when driving in cold weather.

May 1979, I was traveling with a group from Wheatland, WY to a conference in Jackson, WY. That morning we left Wheatland's sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s and encountered snow and slick roads on Togwotee Pass. Wyoming's weather is notoriously unpredictable and can change quickly even in the summer. 

The road over Togwotee Pass was recently improved (widened, realigned, and resurfaced), but even with the improvements, a jackknifed truck would still bring traffic to a halt. Previous posts of Togwotee Pass can be found here.


  1. In the colder parts of the world driving can be very unpredictable...yesterday we left in sunny and almost above zero...

    A hour away, gloomy, dark, snowing, and cold.

    Hope that everyone was OK in that accident.


  2. Good photo! Yeah, a full tank of gas is a must! I'm so glad the road has been improved!

  3. Oh dear... hope the roads don't like that tomorrow:))

  4. Who would think to get out and take a photo? And that 30+ years later you'd share it? Thanks for sharing - I've never seen a road blocking jacknife - but I do know they happen. You should also keep blankets and some protein packed snacks in the car too - just in case. g

  5. Whoa. I've seen similar, but what a great photo, especially 30+ years later. I always have a spare jacket, blanket, water, leashes and a collapsible dog bowl in the car.

  6. This brings to mind a move we made when I was in 6th grade. They finally finished loading our furniture with my mom's dining room table on the outside back much to my folks horror. There was a light snow starting to fall. The poor driver drove down the street on to a busier street and proceeded to jackknife the truck. When he walked back to our house to use the phone (or at least that is what I suspect he did...) Dad offered him a beer. The driver was pretty smart and refused it because he didn't want to be accused of drinking. Luckily everything pretty much arrived safely across the country including a 6 pack of beer that was never taken out of the refrigerator and an ashtray with cigarette butts in it! Needless to say we were really surprised about those two items.

  7. This sort of thing never entered my mind until it happened to us on ice covered by snow in Missouri. I was saying to my son that he was driving too fast just as the truck ahead of us jackknifed. After three hours of sitting on the highway in the freezing cold we were able to get through to the Burger King at the next off ramp and when I was coming out of the restroom I heard a police officer saying to my son, "These crazy people think they can drive as fast as they want in this weather." I asked my son what the officer said (as if I had not heard) and DS said, "He said it was safe to drive as fast as I want." LOL We all had a good laugh!!

  8. Oh I remember those days!! Kinda forget about them down here in Texas!! People down here don't know how to drive in even wet weather!! They sure wouldn't make it up there!!

    Hope your day goes well!!

  9. I believe that is one of the reason two trailer semis are illegal in some states, rightly so I think!

  10. I will say I do not miss driving in the snow. I used to get hammered around Chugwater :(


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