Are You In The Ditch?

Topic 31464 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
member avatar

During this last winter storm that caused so much havoc in the south recently, I was driving near Memphis when my phone rang. It was our terminal manager. He asks, "Dale, are you okay?" I say, "Yes, I am just travelling back to Delhi for my next assignment." He then says, "So, you are not in the ditch?" To which I reply, "Fortunately not." He then explains to me that someone had called in to the terminal saying there was a Knight truck Jack-knifed in the ditch near where I was. He said he checked and found four Knight drivers in that area. He called the other three first because he felt certain that it wouldn't be me. Although flattered by his confidence, I assured him I was still driving and had no plans to depart the roadway.

As we were talking to one another the traffic slowed and I told him I may be coming up on the accident and if he would hang on I would get him a truck number. Soon I saw the truck off in the trees and the tractor was green. I told him, "That can't be one of our trucks unless it is a million miler truck. The tractor is green." Then as I got closer I realized it was an owner/operator pulling an old Knight trailer that had been sold out of our fleet. You could still read "Knight" on the trailer from the residual glue left after they de-branded the trailer. It was a case of mistaken identity.

He was relieved, but it made me think about each of you out there in these storms. I hope everyone has stayed safe. When we get ice like we got recently in the south, it seems nobody knows how to drive in it, and it seems we are totally unprepared for getting our roads back in decent driving order. I went from Louisiana up to Wausau, Wisconsin this week. I sure saw a lot of trucks that had slid off the highways. When you get in the ice and snow, make sure and take it real slow. It is better to be late than to not make it at all.

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.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I fortunately was down in Miami, but I ended up back in the southern states that did get ice. I targeted my runs for right after it came through and timed it pretty well. We had a shutdown zone that was pretty wide. from Texas up to NY. I did run through part of that zone, but did so knowing there was little danger as the temps were back up in the 30s and 40s. I managed 3400 miles for that week. There was a lot of damage though from our Denver terminal with drivers that didnt shut down.

I dont know much, other than it reaffirms my policy of shutting it down when in doubt. I dont think I have the skills, nor the the tires for that matter as my drives are really getting towards the end of their service life to be safe in the snow and ice at that level. Ill continue to take my baby steps, I have 16,690 miles left till my 100k milestone, I dont plan on messing it up before or after.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

I am also glad it wasn't you Old School!

Also glad to hear you're doing those longer runs again. Sounds like you're back to your Old School self. :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Old School, I would be shocked if you ever ended up in a ditch. You’re too careful and sensible for that. You know when to drive or not to drive and what speed is safe for conditions. I’m a Wisconsin boy and I think I have good judgment in winter weather. The drivers I fret about are those who come from warm weather climates. In Green Bay I met numerous trainees who had never even seen snow, much less driven in snow, sleet and ice. Scary.

And yes, I have a handful of experiences where drivers passed me in wintery conditions but I soon passed by them as they were jackknifed in the ditch. One horrific incident I witnessed I don’t see how the driver survived. Sad results from trying to save a few minutes and a few miles.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I was really lucky. I had a delivery that ran me right through the storm zone and I drove very hard to make sure I stayed ahead of it. When I was reloaded and coming back I shut down and not 30 mins after that PA shut the highway down. I got back on the road the next day and saw all the trucks in ditches and medians.

I will say I very surprised to see that most of them were O/O and not the big fleets. Normally it's the other way around.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I ran up to st paul mn during it but I was able to be behind it and roads were in pretty good shape by then.

On I57 about 30 miles south of Effingham IL I started encountering trucks in the ditch. I lost count how many there were. Most of those were small carriers or O/O pulling dry vans. A couple xpo and fedex wiggle wagons.

I just pray the drivers made it out ok.

If the roads are such I can’t at least maintain 45 mph I’m parking it. No need to take unnecessary chances or waste your time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
TwoSides11's Comment
member avatar

Funny that you asked.... I didn't drive in the storm last week. My DM gave me a run to South Carolina. Had the best week of my rookie career and got to enjoy the beautiful weather. On to this week, Monday started off shaky and the week got worse. Then to top it off.....

0104774001644615019.jpg

0853339001644615755.jpg I go into a ditch making a right turn trying to avoid the stop sign. Very embarrassing. I'm writing this as I'm sitting sideways waiting for a wrecker to come get me out. This sucks!

Hope everyone is having a better week then I am. Stay safe drivers!

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.
BK's Comment
member avatar

What a bummer, TwoSides, I’m sorry this happened to you. Rookie mistakes do happen. Looks to me that you had plenty of turning space to avoid the stop sign and keep the tractor on the pavement. If you could do this turn over again, what would you do different?

Don’t let this get you down, we all make mistakes.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Man, Im sorry to see Two Sides. It will be ok, we all do make mistakes, Glad you were not hurt and will make it out ok. Im with Bruce on this one, What would be a better way to handle that turn in the future? Please dont let it get ya down, perservere and learn from it.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

That bites! Especially when you had that stop sigh cleared easily!smile.gif

Don't sweat it, rookie mistakes happen. You'll survive this one just like you will others. Just try to learn from your mistakes. That is what makes an experienced driver what he is. Experience is the sum total of what we've learned from our mistakes.

Do you remember me stating in another conversation recently that you simply can't drive these trucks like a car? This is a great example of that. You could have gotten away with getting a wheel off the pavement in a car. It's not so in a big truck. There is just too much weight on a very small surface contact area. Your front axle has about 12,000 pounds resting on two areas of roughly 150 square inches each. That is a recipe for disaster if the soil is not packed hard and dry. It is easy to get stuck in one of these rigs.

I recently delivered a load of aluminum extrusions to a customer in San Benito, TX. That is basically down at the southern tip of Texas on the Mexican border. The customer had a long driveway with a couple of curves, but once you got all the way down in there you had to turn around in a grass field to get out. It had rained all day the day before I got there, and the customer instructed me to turn around in that grass. I said "No way Jose!" I backed out the whole driveway into a busy state highway. It is not something I would recommend, but it was the only way to keep from being stuck in that field. The customer didn't even bother to tell me that one of our other drivers had got stuck there a few months ago. When I told my dispatcher about what I did, he remembered the other driver getting stuck and told me about it. He then said, "I think you just saved us about 1,800 dollars."

Anyway, it's always best to stay on the pavement when possible. I hope you got rolling pretty quickly. It is just another lesson learned. You are doing well. Keep it up my friend!

Dispatcher:

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.
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