The Coquihalla is known for its treacherous driving condition not only in Canada, but now also in 170 countries worldwide thanks to a television show which is now entering its seventh season.
Jeff Wonnenberg, a line producer on Highway Thru Hell, told Black Press reporter Greg Laychak the dangerous conditions but also the message of road safety is getting a lot of play thanks to the show. The Season 7 premiere was held Sept. 1 at the Hope Golf and Country Club.
Wonnenburg said this season was the longest one yet, with 17 episodes featuring some characters who have been with the show since day one. He promised more wrecks and some new characters for the season, which premiered Sept. 4.
Highway Thru Hell, broadcast on the Discovery Channel, follows towing companies and first responders as they work to keep the highways around Hope safe and passable in dangerous winter conditions. Hope’s own Jamie Davis plays a leading role in the show.
Film crews are based in Hope for the winter season, covering crashes and rescues on Highways 1, 3 and 5 as well as back roads and some action on highways in the Interior.
“The work that the towing guys do is inherently dangerous, the work of the first responders. I have such an admiration for them,” Wonnenberg said. “They’re out in the middle of the night, two in the morning, if there’s a blizzard they have to get out there and go.”
Apart from the action it’s famous for, a message of Highway Thru Hell is road safety and encouraging a culture of careful driving and abiding by the ‘slow down, move over’ motto.
“We’ve been getting some feedback that numbers are starting to go down a little more, because the show is quite popular and does get a lot of viewers. A lot of viewers now know, even truck drivers, that chaining up is probably a good thing when it gets really bad. That’s one of our main objectives to promote safety on the highways,” he said.
The crew is watching the weather for this winter, Wonnenberg said, and it looks to be another busy one for the crew.
– with files from Greg Laychak
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