NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas winters are often rather gentle.
In fact, the winter of 2011 was one of the warmest in history.
So it might seem rather odd that an Arkansan would create a product designed to free tractor-trailers from the grip of snow and ice.
But that’s exactly what Doug Bonnizzio did.
“I was looking on TV noticing the programs with the snowstorms in other parts of the country,” Bonnizzio. “People were literally stuck on the highways. You just see so many of these situations where the trucks are stacked up and cars can’t get where they are going. Even the salt and sand trucks are stuck.”
That’s when Bonnizzio came up with the idea for Unstuck!!!, a compound of lime, granite, fine sand, perlite, gypsum and dye.
Bonnizzio quietly released the product last December using personal funds.
Now that he’s found investors and has trademark protection, he’s ready to go full bore for the winter of 2012-13.
“The product is really designed to keep America moving. At any point in time in a snowstorm there are literally thousands of trucks stalled on the highway,” Bonnizzio said. “What if you could just get everyone moving again? What would be the gain of the gross domestic product? Literally you are talking about for every truck that sits there it is $85 dollars an hour lost. They sit idle and then when a tow truck shows up — if it shows up at all — it’s about $400. “
Instructions for use are printed on the back of the bag that holds 25 pounds of Unstuck Truck:
Plan your getaway path, clear the bulk snow and slush from in front of the tires, put on the included gloves, throw one to two handfuls of Unstuck!!! directly behind each of the drive tires, cover each drive tire with Unstuck!!!, back up the truck four to six inches so wheels are directly on top of the handfuls thrown down, throw one to two handfuls in front of each drive tire, ensure each drive tire is well coated all around, lay eight to 10 feet of four-to-six-inch wide paths of the material in front of each of the drive tires in the intended direction, then drive away as if on wet pavement, apply light gas, do not hesitate, pause or stop.
Planning the getaway path of the material is extremely important, Bonnizzio said.
“Know where you are going so it’s not a knee jerk reaction because when we return traction to your tires, it’s going to be quick,” he said. “People are really surprised. They put it in first gear and they hit it and I hear one of two things. I hear them laughing or I hear their head hit the back of the seat because they are not expecting anything to happen.”
The product has been road tested and has been requested by at least three state departments of transportation.
The product is manufacturing in a large warehouse near downtown North Little Rock using an automated process.
Until he was able to move the company into the warehouse, Bonnizzio produced and bagged Unstuck!!! by hand in a large storage unit.
His company has the capability of producing 1,500 bags a day now, he said.
The product comes in 12- and 25-pound bags, the latter of which is required to move a big rig.
The 25-pound bag sells for $14.95.
It is effective on packed snow, ice or other frozen surfaces from 32 down to minus 60 degrees, Bonnizzio said.
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