Life On The Road - Sometimes You Have One Of Those Weeks

by Rhonda

The end of my great day started at the enclosed dock on the end. I hate this kind of dock. I had been here several times and on my way here, I just knew that I would get it again.

Sure enough, after checking in, I get the last dock on the end by the short wall that surrounds the small parking lot. I drive along the dock openings and head to the end dock. When the tractor is at my opening, I crank hard left to avoid the short wall in front of me and get set up for the backing. As I am going left, I wished again that the parking lot would be a wee bit bigger for this type of turn and it would make backing into any of the docks easier.

The backing is going just fine and when my tandems clear the corner of the trailer next to my slot, I turn the wheel hard and jackknife the trailer into the slot. I missed the door frame and the wall of the building which is closer than I prefer to the right side of my trailer. The building was poorly designed it seems, but it may have worked just fine when these trucks were shorter in length. I stop and get out so I can see the right side rear of the trailer and get my bearings so I can finish getting into the dock.

My heart stops when I get to the right side of the trailer. The door is just past the side wall beam about 5 foot inside and if I pull forward I will tear the door off. (for you newbies, when you are at the back of the trailer looking at the doors open against the trailer wall, it looks like a "V". The hinge part is tight against the trailer but the other part of the door by the hook/chain may be 1 to 4 inches out from the side). The doors to this trailer had about 1 inch of play or less and when backing up, the beam touches the hinge part of the door. So while backing up it moves to the front of the door, pushing it closer to the trailer. Then when free, the door pops out again.

After seeing the mess I got myself into, it looked fairly simple to get out of, so I put my plan to work. Well, It did not work. That trailer door on this brand new trailer popped right off and landed in the parking lot. I am not a happy person. This should not have happened and no one is to blame but me.

The yard jockeys come over to me and tell me that they will put the trailers in these docks if the OTR drivers don't want to do it. "Now you tell me this!" I "scream" at them. They picked up the door and put it in the trailer.

I call my Safety Director at home to tell him I had good and bad news. I told him that the new trailers with the hinges that snap off to save damaging the doors really do work, and it happened to me!

I ended up taking the trailer to a local shop and dropping it off. I picked up my other trailer back at the customer and went to the truck stop for the night. When I went into the restroom to wash up, the paper towel dispenser fell to the floor when I touched it!! "What next??" I said to myself.

The next day started off better until I got onto a dirt construction road. They put those spikes in the road about 6 inches out from the curb that you can't see and I ripped open the 2 outside tires. Holy crap what a week this is turning into! I had one heck of a time turning that heavy load on this type of road. The tire shop, which was also our tire repair shop away from home, fixed the tires. I then dropped that trailer off for the other driver and got my new trailer. I survived the rest of the week but was very paranoid wondering what and when is something else going to happen.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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