Just When You Think You've Seen It All...

Topic 23354 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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A life lived on the road, constantly on the move, such as an American Truck Driver experiences, will give you a several lifetimes of stories to regale your friends and relatives with. I have seen and experienced so many things in my short career.

  • I once saw a guy hauling hay in Colorado, seemingly unaware that his whole load was on fire! He apparently flipped his cigarette butt out the window only to have it hang up in his load of hay until it started a nice blaze.
  • Another fine day in Colorado I had a little old lady driving a Subaru Forester, who while passing me, blew out a steer tire causing her to start doing three sixty's right there in front of me. I came within inches of hitting her.
  • I've seen guys catch their truck on fire by going down a mountain too fast and overheating their brakes.
  • I had a truck parked next to me at a truck stop catch fire from an electrical issue.
  • I once was idling at a customer's location when I heard something that sounded like a gunshot come from my own truck. When I investigated it further I found that one of my batteries had exploded, blowing the whole top of the battery off!
  • I once saw a guy pulling double pup trailers parked on the shoulder and his second trailer was lying on it's side, still hooked to the first trailer which had it's rear axle suspended in the air but still standing upright. I have no idea how he got in that predicament.
  • I've seen countless trucks rolled over for whatever reason, and even saw one completely upside down laying across four lanes of interstate , completely blocking traffic for hours.

You see this stuff and it always puts a knot in your stomach. Sometimes you just can't for the life of you figure out how it happened to these people, but it reminds you of just how dangerous this job can be.

I saw a new one yesterday that seemed like a serious problem at first, but after it was all over with, it turned out to be more whimsical than disastrous. One of our drivers pulled into our yard in Delhi, Louisiana, stopped his truck and swung open his door. Just at the moment he opened his door it looked as if an explosion went off inside his truck and his cab filled with a yellow looking smoke, and he came bailing out of the truck covered with a yellow looking powder, coughing, gagging, and doing everything he could to get away from whatever had just taken place inside that cab. He looked both disoriented and bewildered at what had just taken place. Upon further investigation we found that he had somehow gotten his seat belt tangled around the handle/lever on his fire extinguisher, and the handle of his door. When he swung the door of his truck open it also set off his fire extinguisher which fully discharged itself during the whole kerfuffle.

It made a huge mess of the inside of his truck! There is no way that should have happened. I have no idea why the pin was missing from his fire extinguisher. That pin being in place could have kept this from happening, as could just taking a little care with his seat belt. It is just one little detail that he should have corrected during a proper pre-trip inspection. The bad part was now he had such a mess to clean up that they had to take his load off of him and find someone else to handle it. Sometimes paying attention to the seemingly unimportant details is what can keep us moving profitably, or hinder and frustrate us out here.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PlanB's Comment
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I remember one incident early on in my training. I was westbound pulling out of the flying j in Amarillo tx with my trainer in the passenger seat. He was talkng to me about something, but my attention was caught by this flatbed that passed by as I was merging onto the interstate. His load of double stacked rolls of hay looked like it was leaning to the right. After I finished merging, the flatbed moved over to the exit lane taking the next exit by Petro. The interstate went up over an overpass and the exit lane went down to an intersection underneath it. I couldn't take my eyes of that flatbed for some reason as he went down the ramp into the intersection. As I went up the overpass I watched the flatbed start making the left beneath us towards the Petro, and started leaning over!

I cut my trainer off mid sentence with "oh s***" as my eyes pooped wide open.

He looked over just in time to see the flatbed trailer roll over on it's right side.

"OH S***!" We both said out loud.

We just looked at each other speechless for a moment, then i refocused my attention to the interstate.

There was nowhere for us to safely stop, so I had to keep rolling. We also couldn't tell if the tractor rolled over with the trailer as it had gone out of view beneath us.

Just watching that thing roll over stuck with me for a while.

Another occasion we again were pulling out of a truck stop, I forget where, this time I was in the passenger seat with my trainer driving. We had just been talking about how that drainage ditch by the truckstop exit made us both uncomfortable due to how tight the exit was. As he was driving up the acceleration ramp to the interstate I looked over and saw another truck exiting the spot we just came from. That trucks trailer axles didn't clear the drainage ditch and I watched as the trailer slowly rolled over to the left as the wheels slid deeper into the ditch. We were accelerating around a curve and or trailer blocked my view. Again I couldn't see if the tractor went over with the trailer, but that driver definitely had a bad day regardless.

Interstate:

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

Kevin K.'s Comment
member avatar

Ah, fun with fire extinguishers...

A couple years ago at my prior job I'm driving a straight truck down an interstate. The fire extinguisher is installed on the left side of the driver's seat. The sun is setting, I've got the cruise on, and I'm deadheading back to the terminal after delivering my load. I kick my left leg back to stretch it a bit and... kick the handle of the fire extinguisher which does not have its pin in place (proper pre-trip amen).

The whole thing promptly empties itself out, spraying that sticky funky powder all over the cab. I roll down the window to let some of it out, doing my best Cheech and Chong impression. I still have an hour left of interstate to go before home...

I stop at the spot where we leased our trucks to fuel and clean it up as best as I can. I've got the power spray hose and gobs of shop towels and still what a mess! Months and months of cleaning the same spots over and over again... the stuff goes into every nook and cranny and is nearly impossible to completely get rid of.

Don't neglect that extinguisher during your pre-trip!

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

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.

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

One fine afternoon I was cruising along the turnpike westbound through Gary, IN. I'm clipping along at 60, just kinda maintaining my spot in the herd, and out of nowhere like it was fired out of a cannon comes this can hauler in the hammer lane. He had to be doing at least 80. But that wasn't the real eye-opener. His chassis had not one, not two, not even three, but EIGHT blown tires. There was not a single actual tire left under that can. And no matter how many guys got on the radio to advise him of the situation, he just kept romping along, throwing sparks and bits of rubber allwhere.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

Fatsquatch-I sure am glad his mirrors worked! Or maybe they were missing?

Being in a hurry, or complacency definitely can ruin your day. I know we all want to make our miles and under our 14 hour clock. But please people the death of one self or others is not worth it, not mention the damaged equipment and product that we are hauling.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

One fine afternoon I was cruising along the turnpike westbound through Gary, IN. I'm clipping along at 60, just kinda maintaining my spot in the herd, and out of nowhere like it was fired out of a cannon comes this can hauler in the hammer lane. He had to be doing at least 80. But that wasn't the real eye-opener. His chassis had not one, not two, not even three, but EIGHT blown tires. There was not a single actual tire left under that can. And no matter how many guys got on the radio to advise him of the situation, he just kept romping along, throwing sparks and bits of rubber allwhere.

I must have seen his cousin. I was leaving Chicagoland on 80 and up ahead I see a can hauler with his flashers on. He was going about 60mph. It takes me awhile to reach him since I'm going 62.5 or so. Then I see the reason he was only going 60. One set of tires was missing, both rear passenger tires and wheels were gone. He knew about it and slowed down accordingly. I guess if I put my hazards on I can do anything, right?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

I-10 near Indio, CA. Clear weather, easy traffic, everything moving along. Pickup passing me on the left moving about 70mph. When he's right next to me I look in the mirror and see his rear tire blow out. He over-corrected and started rolling. His mess never touched me so I kept rolling. I've wondered sometimes if I should have stopped to at least be a witness for him.

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

This Friday (9-7-18) I was heading North on I-81 in Virginia. I heard some squawking on the CB.... less than a mile up the road I see a big dust cloud, and a truck with its cab wedged into the trees 90 degrees to its trailer. It had just happened right before I got there. There was already two 4 wheelers stopping to help, so I kept going.

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