Suicide By Truck And Having The Big Picture

Topic 22595 | Page 1

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Big T's Comment
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Last Sunday I stopped for fuel in North Platte, NE. As far as fuel stops go it was nothing out of the ordinary. However, shortly after getting back on the interstate , a close call managed to screw up my week.

Twenty miles East of North Platte there is a rest area. In the process of scanning my surroundings and making sure I had the big picture I noticed a car on the far side of the on ramp leaving the rest area. Once again nothing abnormal there.

When I was about two truck lengths from passing him he made a 90 degree left turn and parked his car across my lane of travel. Somehow I managed to slow the truck enough and at the last minute he backed up. I got close enough to see his face and I have seen his face every time I have tried to go to sleep since.

By having the big picture and not driving distracted I was able to avoid a tragedy. Things can happen at any time out here. A split second can ruin a life.

I will be upgrading a student tomorrow and then I'm taking a couple days off to clear my head and hug my family a little tighter than normal.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow! We just covered Smith system last week and a few people asked when we would ever use that... I don't expect to see them upgrading at the DMV anytime soon. However here was one heck of an example where that was very relevant.

I'm glad nobody was physically hurt in that situation. And I hope some family time eases the memory of that situation for ya.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Jeremy commenting on Big T's experience...

We just covered Smith system last week and a few people asked when we would ever use that...

To the few people who asked you that:

"all the time" is when it's used.

Big T's Comment
member avatar

I had the Smith system drilled into my head when I first entered the industry. This is driving 101. It's what you are supposed to do. I rearrange the keys a little when I teach it because there is really only three keys.

Get The Big Picture How do you do that? By aiming high in steering and keeping your eyes moving. This is the basics of looking ahead 12 to 15 seconds and scanning your mirrors and surroundings.

Leave Yourself an out. This is basic space cushion management. This includes everything from the speed you travel at, your following distance, and what lane your traveling in. How about where you park at the end of your shift? Can you easily get out or get blocked in?

Make Sure They See You includes lights, signals, horns, etc. Even when you have direct eye contact assume they are blind and don't see the small building traveling down the road.

Sorry for the long winded explanation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I really got a chuckle from what Jeremy reported about his classmates. I can't even imagine asking such a question. The Smith System is my daily companion and constant focus. I never drive without it. My life has been spared by it on several occasions.

Remember folks there are people sharing the highways with you who can't imagine when they would use such techniques. confused.gif

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I really got a chuckle from what Jeremy reported about his classmates. I can't even imagine asking such a question.

Have you even read some of the other questions, lol? There are two groups of people here... Future truck drivers and potential politicians!

There is no shortage of great questions and great remarks here - and I'm betting the same applies to many other trucking schools, too! rofl-1.gif

Thankfully the Smith system enhanced some things I already do from habit, things I learned from former employment that required me to maintain elevated situational awareness. And I'm glad we covered (and tested on) it, here at CRST, now that I will be responsible for such a large, unwieldy piece of machinery.

I'd rather be slow and a pain in the ass, if need be, then fast and (more) dangerous.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Yes, any truck driving school instructor could regale us with tales of former students who lasted only a week or two before securing their exit from the program. There is a huge difference in the number of people who think they want to do this and those who actually finish their course and get licensed. Then that number is drastically reduced again down to those who actually stay in the industry for a full year.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I had the Smith System drilled into me at the age of 15 in Driver's Ed when I got my drivers permit back in the dinosaur age of 1975. It's been an ingrained habit for life, and as GTown said.. it's used EVERY SINGLE DAY.

To the doofus who asked, "When will I ever use that?", They don't need to be driving a go cart much less an 80,000 pound death machine.

I was also taught ... A . minimum of 3 car lengths apart (for driving cars, obviously). I'm going to be real blunt. People who speed and tailgate, positively disgust me. And as my company safety director would say, "The speed limit is the MAXIMUM speed you should be driving.".

Big T's Comment
member avatar

I cringe every time I see a truck tailgating. These are probably some of the same people that whine about truckers not getting any respect.

I had the Smith System drilled into me at the age of 15 in Driver's Ed when I got my drivers permit back in the dinosaur age of 1975. It's been an ingrained habit for life, and as GTown said.. it's used EVERY SINGLE DAY.

To the doofus who asked, "When will I ever use that?", They don't need to be driving a go cart much less an 80,000 pound death machine.

I was also taught ... A . minimum of 3 car lengths apart (for driving cars, obviously). I'm going to be real blunt. People who speed and tailgate, positively disgust me. And as my company safety director would say, "The speed limit is the MAXIMUM speed you should be driving.".

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Big T telling it like it is...

I cringe every time I see a truck tailgating. These are probably some of the same people that whine about truckers not getting any respect.

Ditto here. Uncalled for; ignorant; slightly below texting on the "stupidity-scale".

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