Mental Block Post Accident - New Trucker

Topic 21201 | Page 1

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Samuel C.'s Comment
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I decided to leave my business law career to become a trucker about 5 months ago. I have been always on the verge of posting here asking for advice as I frequently read this forum. I finally got my CDL the first of November and I started working for a small trucking company here in Illinois. I was ending my first week on a high note the instructor and owner were very please with my driving skill and I was days away from venturing out on my own. However on the last day things changed.

The trucks are not governed but I always stayed at 65mph or under, both hands on steering wheel, eyes peeled. I was often told to relax and speed up I really did not want to so when we were running short on time to meet a pick up I would switch with my instructor that never went lower than 70mph. We were on Ohio it was windy and rainy and I had been driving for a good 9 hours. Finally I switched with the instructor so that I could rest. This man was driving with his elbows on the phone typing something on the GPS going about 70mph on the rain. I asked if he needed help he said no. He is a really nice funny guy but I had always felt uneasy about his driving style since I first got in the truck with him. He said he has been driving semis little over a year and straight trucks for 2 years.

About 30 minutes in. Going 70mph downhill approaching a bridge before starting uphill the empty 53" trailer skid and it was pulling us into a jackknife. We were out of control as he was trying to correct the trailer all of the sudden we were about to flip onto my side and I really thought I was going to die. I just braced for impact. Luckily we did not flip as the other side went into the median strip ditch we hit hard on the mud and we were about to skid onto the oncoming lane and again luckily the wheels got tangled into the steel wires and finally we came to a stop. The front of the truck was damaged. I hurt my knee and broke the windshield with my hand. He was fine and I did not require medical attention and we did not hit anyone else even though there was a good amount of cars. I was in shock for the rest of the day. After things got cleared with the police and we got our truck towed to the nearest truck stop. He started making light of it and making jokes and saying how I look so scared and my face was white. I just stayed quiet and decided not to comment I was not saying it but I was very much in shock and scared of how close we came to death or else killing someone else on the highway. We got to Illinois and got the next day off. I received a call from the boss informing me of how the insurance would not insure me all of the sudden because of my age and lack of experience. All in all that job left me bruised and scared of driving.

A day after (today) I got a job with a new company, set to start Monday driving to New York and Vermont OTR. I made the decision to change my career and I spent money on driving school. I am already invested into this new career. However there is the lingering thought of the accident sort of like a PTSD. Snow season is approaching. I talked to my trucker friends and they told me the same, respect the road, things happen, he should not have been speeding, sue the company etc.

I have been a reader on this forum for a while and I see its full of passionate experienced drivers and I would like to kindly ask for advice on how to best handle my new fears and any tips for the road specially winter time. New trucker advice etc. Sorry for the long post, hopefully you guys have time to read it. Thank you very much.



Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


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.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m a little confused. We’re you a business lawyer? Do you have years of regular driving experience? If so, use that experience to help identify trouble situations.

If you’re from Illinois, you know weather can change in a hurry and driving anything can be a challenge when you mix bad weather with lots of traffic.

Weather conditions are exponentially more important when piloting an 80,000lb behemoth.

Slow down. You’ll have plenty of chances to go down the mountain too slow, but only one chance to go down too fast.

As for fears; express them to a Trainer and get their insight.

Get experience using your engine (Jake) brake so you don’t burn up your brakes on steep grades.

Watch YouTube videos to see how others do things.

Good luck!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Samuel I think you can reassure yourself; positive reinforcement that if given the same exact scenario, you would not be texting while driving or steadying the wheel with your elbows. He was breaking the law and behaving in a reckless manner. I think you know this intellectually, however emotion is the controlling factor at the moment. For the record; yiur trainer should have been fired, he's an irresponsible buffoon lacking common sense and good judgement. Wish there was a test for that...preventing knuckleheads like him from ever sitting in the first seat.

Build your base of knowledge, focusing on the legal and safest way to conduct your business. Use the bad experience with your former trainer as a guide on what NOT to do while operating any motor vehicle.

In time,...rational thinking will overtake the FUD factor you are now experiencing (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt).

You'll be fine.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

There's that old saying:

Git back on the horse ya fell off of.

In this situation that might be the best cure. That, and don't get back on a truck with that trainer. You had a fine example of how not to drive a truck. So don't be afraid to say why.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree with G Town. I feel.much more confident, even in a car when Im in control.

I went down a 7% grade early on when solo. i was fully loaded, in 7th gear and holding at 25mph. Fedex came flying past me. at the bottom, he was on fire, and im sure most of the cargo was destroyed. I still.had my load, and my job. i bet he didn't.

Another time I saw a truck jack knife and hit.oncoming traffic. again he was going too fast. what drivers dont seem to get is that most accidents are cause by going too fast for conditions. go slow, be alert and shut down when you need to. im sure we can all go on and on about accidents we have seen. just do whatevee you need to in orser to be safe. good luck.

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