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Deadly roads, tough drives

HARSHINI VAKKALANKA
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CHAT Truck driver G.W. Boles says the real danger with negotiating difficult roads is getting bored. If you stop paying attention, you can die

MUSCLE MEANFor the rough road
MUSCLE MEANFor the rough road

G.W. Boles feels lucky to be one of the truck drivers in the History Channel's “IRT Deadliest Roads”.

“There are thousands of truck drivers in America, but not everyone gets the opportunity to drive on some of the highest roads on the planet,” he says, in a telephonic interview.

In the second season of the show, which Boles is a part of, along with last season's Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly and Hugh Rowland, a group of 10 truckers drive through the ancient roads of Bolivia and Peru. “Through the show, we learnt a lot about people and culture. The people were intelligent and they really helped us,” says Boles.

The show lives up to its name quite literally. “They have earthquakes and landslides, which can strike at any time, so the people in these towns could be cut off from the world for months. One goes into the show accepting that one can die in the process.”

“And these people live with it everyday. All the roads are made of dirt, so in the rainy season the water washes the dirt away and new roads have to be made. These roads are very shaky and unstable,” says Bowles.

It is also about trust, in other people (the truckers are often paired) and in one's own driving skills.

“If the other driver makes a mistake, then both of us die. The roads are so steep that several times, we almost went off the cliff or while going downhill, the wheels can't take the weight of the truck and at those times, we can neither stop nor steer.”

Since mountain roads are narrow, there is also a danger of other vehicles pushing the truckers off the cliff. “People in the villages may be helpful, but on the road they are quite the opposite. Cars and buses squeeze by, and if they fall, they cannot be rescued from such heights. The other vehicles can even drive you off the cliff. The real danger is getting bored because if you stop paying attention, you can die.”

But the danger never deters Boles from his dreams. “I hope the show continues because I want to drive on every dangerous road on Earth. I heard there are many more roads like that in China and Philippines. On the other hand, it's hard to stay away from my family for months at a time.”

The show also has its lighter moments, says Boles, who is passionate about stand-up comedy and does some shows part-time in America. “I'm a big guy and I usually scare people. But then I'm a funny guy and I love joking and laughing. In the show, you will see that I'm always trying to do that. Lisa and I share a good chemistry on the show because I made it easier for her to work with me.”

According to him, the show has another cultural angle. “It's one of the most exciting shows. It's unique because four of our truck drivers come from different parts of America. It gives viewers different views on what Americans are. They have grown up with different values, and they all have different ways of life. I think the show shows a glimpse of a different part of America that people haven't usually seen before.”

The show airs on History Channel every Wednesday at 10 p.m. with a repeat telecast on Friday at 9 p.m.

HARSHINI VAKKALANKA

Through the show, we learnt a lot about people and culture. The people were intelligent and they really helped us

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