As truckers, it’s second nature for Emily Slaughter and Michele Rusher to keep tabs on bad weather and road closures. But as the drivers, who work for the shipping company New Prime, Inc., headed southbound on Interstate 95 early Tuesday morning, Jan. 4, no radio updates or electronic road signs suggested they were about to hit the worst traffic jam imaginable.
At around one or two in the morning, Rusher and Slaughter joined a mass of cars stuck on the snow-covered, ice-slicked roads of Northern Virginia. A sudden winter storm the day before had blanketed this stretch of highway outside of Washington D.C., and many drivers (including U.S. Senator Tim Kaine) were stranded overnight in their cars with no food or water in freezing temperatures, trying to stay warm while conserving gas.