Monday, January 28, 2013

Have a heart!

You see a truck up ahead and you know what you do without even thinking about it? You lay down on that accelerator. Ever think about that? Why, just the sight of a truck and you suddenly feel like you're going to get trapped behind him. Let's talk. Retired trucker to everybody else. There's some things you need to know.

 When you come down with the flu, what do you do? You call in to work and take a bunch of medicine and laze around the house or maybe Nyquil and sleep all day? You know what a trucker does when he's half through his run? Not a damn thing. He has to keep rolling. He can pop pills to help, the kleenex box is on the dash, his head feels like it's going to pop, he may even have the heater on full blast because he has a fever. Stop and rest? Are you kidding? You get sick leave. His company gets an $800 fine if he's late for his appointment 1200 miles away. Boy, you really have it bad.

 Did you know a truck driver can go so many times, needing to pee and can't stop for a second, that one day he realizes he doesn't feel those urges any more? Problem? Oh yeah.

 That driver coming up on his 10th hour with one lousy 15 minute break for fuel, has swelling ankles and an aching back and you know what you just did? You got pissed at him, jumped around in front and slammed on your brakes.

 I hope next time you pull that one that you make sure to do it at least 4 times. By the 4th time, you're going to die, want to know why? Have someone hold a sheet of plain paper out in front of you. You reach out and grab it with both palms and hold it tight while they try to pull it away from you. OK....Now....rub your hands together really fast for at least 60 seconds to build up the heat and friction. Now try the paper trick. Grab the paper while they pull it away. Be sure you're grabbing both sides of the paper with the palms of your hands. You've just answered your own question

. Maybe that truck has 18 sets of brakes but they can build up friction and heat too and every time they are applied hard, the hotter they get. So now, try your cute little trick of jumping in front of the truck and slamming on your brakes. Be sure to do it enough times to die.

 What I'm saying is this: people think they are so cute, messing around with the big trucks, flipping them off, cursing their very existence on the highway without ever realizing they are probably messing with a rolling building. 80,000 pounds. Think on that for a minute.

 AS long as everyone is doing their own thing, not doing anything to impede other drivers, and moving with traffic....everybody's safe. That trucker knows what he's doing. He can't control what you're doing. I guarantee that if there was nothing BUT big trucks on the highway, there would hardly ever be an accident. Mix them with idiot car drivers and people die.

 That truck is not going to hurt you unless you do something to make sure something does happen. Following too close: tire tread through your windshield, a ride under the trailer or the best....he moves over suddenly because there's a stopped vehicle in the path and you didn't know until too late. Traveling right next to the trailer tires for miles on end at high speed: you know what a bomb sounds like up close? You're just liable to find out if one of those tires blows out. Why would you ride right there mile after mile anyway?

 Truckers talk to each other and when there is danger ahead, they just might all suddenly decide to move over a lane. If you're an idiot, you're going to get mad that they all jumped into the left lane, pound on the accelerator to go around and slam right into the wreck that was already there.

 Here's my point. You want to stay safe on the highway? Watch the trucks. If it's a hill, they are going to slow down because ....why?....80,000 pounds!If it's not a hill, then why are they suddenly slowing down. Investigate, pay attention, watch the signals.

 I'll share a little story with you that you MIGHT appreciate. This happened to my dad many years ago on a 2 lane highway going down through Texas. He came up behind a truck, turned on his left signal and started to pass when all of a sudden the trucks left turn signal came on. It spooked my dad, who pulled back behind the truck. A few seconds later, he decided it must have been a mistake, turned on his signal and started to accelerate when again the trucks left signal came on. By now, my dad was starting to get frustrated when all of a sudden we passed the state cop sitting off to the side. Boy was my dad eating his own words and feeling sheepish. He was so grateful. The trucker saved him from getting a speeding ticket in one of the most vicious cop territories.

 If you have to follow a truck through bad weather, thank him by leaving your lights on low and stay as far behind as you can and still see his tail lights. He will know immediately that you are there and once he sees you are blind and following, he will take care of you. You don't have to ask. Just please thank him by not trying to blind him. All he asks is that you stay in his sight, which means far enough back for him to see you in his mirrors. If something comes up, he will signal. Flashers means one of 2 things: slowing down or danger ahead. A signal, letting you know he's changing lanes, prepare to change with him. He will be leading.

 A 'thank you' is not bright lights, it's no lights then lights off then on. Don't blind the driver. His mirrors are much bigger than yours. If the weather clears up enough you want to go on, pass him and do it quickly then give him your thanks with your 4-ways for just a couple blinks.

 You're on the open highway and there's a truck 50 feet behind you, keep your speed until ready to exit but also turn on your signal a mile down the road. This gives the driver a head's up.

 Heavy traffic through a city and you wonder what that smart ass is doing in the left lane. Who does he think he is any way? Think about it. Which side of the freeway are the on ramps. Get it now? Truckers stay as far from the possibility of danger as possible. Now do you understand? If you could see from that height, you'd understand what a mix mash the traffic really looks like.

Sometimes, it's because he already knows ahead of time that his exit is on that side and he's not going to fight his way through 3 or 4 lanes of frantic traffic to get there. My point? Get off it!

 Now think about this one. Long haul truckers put in an average of 2000 to 3000 miles per week. You want to know how many deadly wrecks they see every day? Roll your car and just see who stops first to help. When a trucker witnesses the whole thing and it happens in time for him to stop, he stops. Stop cursing the truckers. They are bringing your baby formula, your cereal, you clothes, your cars, your everything. They give up home life and they sit in that seat for more hours than you can stand. He's trained and alert to the end of his schedule. Give him a brake. Say thank you.