This Is Not Looking Good

Topic 13165 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Dave B Flying's Comment
member avatar

I started driving for Werner in 1985. Sometime in the early to mid 90's, Werner started a driver training program for students. I trained many students for several years. Sometime in I believe my 3rd year, I picked up a driver at the Lithia Springs, GA terminal. He was coming to the end of his training and required about 2 more weeks of training to test out. During the initial contact and general briefing I told him that I was tired and opted to rest in the truck for a night. However, this student just got done spending several days in a hotel waiting for another trainer and was anxious to get moving again. I decided that it would be ok to roll. We got an empty, headed to the customer and did a drop and hook. It was not too long before we were Northbound on I-75 heading toward TN. I continued to observe his driving and determined that he was doing a great job. Back then, once a driver was capable of handling the rig himself, we would get long loads and would drive 4 on and 4 off like a team operation. This was before the DOT rules changed. I decided that I was going to get some sleep. I let him know as I did all my students that if they needed me not to hesitate to yell for me because that's what I was there for.. He had made note that he wanted to stop at a fuel stop to grab a soda pop and snack. I told him that I had no problem with that and to keep up the good job he was doing. When I was training, I had a tendency to sleep with one eye open and was a very light sleeper. We might have gotten about 30 minutes down the road when I could sense that he was making that pit stop we talked about. I continued to lay there. The truck made a couple turns and came to a stop.

Moments later I was being called to assess the situation. On our left was a tiny fuel stop and we were sitting at the exit drive for that stop. All fuel lanes were full and turning in was not an option. Small fuel stops have one way in and one way out. I told him that he should have paid attention to which way the trucks were facing before turning down the service road. Then he utters "I think you had better drive." Right about that time a semi was coming the other way and I said "look, here comes a truck. There must be a trucking company down here with a place to turn around so keep driving." He drove for awhile and we saw the trucking company but the gate was closed and locked. He asked, "do you want to drive? I said maybe I'd better."

So here I am driving this rig with only my T- shirt and boxers too by the way because I had to react quickly to the situation. The road kept getting narrower, tree branches were getting lower and we started to encounter some hills and winding roads. Not too much longer we encounter an intimidating sign that reads "Dam One Mile Ahead." I'm thinking, this is not looking good and we are going to be in real trouble. I wasn't sure what I was going to find at the end of this road. Then we came across a sign that reads, Road Ends At Dam/25 MPH. So I slow down, we come around the final curve and the road comes to and end. I felt like I had just seen Michael Myers from Halloween. Straight ahead of me is this giant lake. I look around and there is a parking lot with curbs to the right of me that probably could have held about 10 cars or so. Between this parking lot and water was this very tall cliff looking thing that may have been the dam. I'm not sure. To the left was this small little gravel spot with 2 picnic tables chained to a pole. At this point, I just wanted to pack my bags and get out of trucking for good.

I started having visions of being lifted out by helicopters and making front page news. The student looked at me and said "What are you going to do?" I said "The first thing I need to do is put my clothes back on." We went outside and assessed the situation. The widest place in this whole area was between the table and that cliff. We actually got out and measured it by walking. It wasn't long enough for the entire length of the semi but it was long enough if I could 90 degree it. The first thing I did was slide the tandems all the way forward. It took me some time but I got the trailer wheels in between the 2 picnic tables without falling into the water and left enough room so that I could drop the trailer at a 90 degree angle. This took some time of pulling up and backing up while turning the wheels. Once the trailer was out of the way, I was able to back the truck up between the trailer and the cliff and get the tractor turned around to where I could back into the trailer from the other side. Once I got the trailer connected, I knew that the worst part was over.

As we started to roll he said, "Man you are good!" I said "No, I'm just very lucky. Just when you've seen it all, Whammo! We got to I-75N and I pulled into the first truck stop I saw, and put her in a hole. The student asked me what my plans were. I replied, "Parking for the night." He graciously replied, "Yes sir!"

Lessons learned

No matter how good you are, no matter how long you've been doing it, "IT" can happen to you.

This is a true story and an extreme case. From my experience, Georgia roads are traditionally full of surprises. It may start out as asphalt or concrete but you never know what you will encounter.

In hindsight, I probably should have had the student get out and I should have backed into the fuel stop.

I also should have listened to my instincts the first time and parked unt morning.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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".

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Kris F.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow that is a scary situation. thanks Dave

Justin N.'s Comment
member avatar

There are some real frightening places you can get a truck into. If my boss knew half of the places I have gotten the truck trapped in I probably would have been let go.

The feeling you get when you get out of those messes though is is like a happy movie ending.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dutch's Comment
member avatar

Great story Dave! The adrenaline flow I get when driving is one aspect of trucking that makes almost every day an adventure. IMO, the best stories are the ones where a driver relates how they overcame adversity.

Your post reminds me of a quote by my favorite U.S. President.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

J Johns's Comment
member avatar

^ I love that.

Great story, Dave! What's so bad about hotels that someone could find another quiet night distasteful anyway?

Dave B Flying's Comment
member avatar

Great story Dave! The adrenaline flow I get when driving is one aspect of trucking that makes almost every day an adventure. IMO, the best stories are the ones where a driver relates how they overcame adversity.

Your post reminds me of a quote by my favorite U.S. President.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

Wow! I love that quote. I will note that one Thank you.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More