I Did Something Really Stupid Today...

Topic 34026 | Page 1

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Brian S.'s Comment
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I got back from Ohio this morning with a dry van full of pallets. The owner of the company that I drive for told me to dock the trailer in the back of the building and just leave it in the dock. So I back it in, lower the landing gear, unhook the air and electric lines, and pull the release arm. Just as I'm about to hop back in the truck and drive off, one of the guys that works in the warehouse asked me if I could move it to one of the docks in front of the building. Sure, no problem, I said.

So I reconnect the lines, crank up the landing gear, hop in the truck, start to pull out and...BOOM! Down she goes. I totally forgot that I had pulled the release arm. Thank God that it was a light load and it didn't damage the landing gear or worse. The warehouse worker was nice enough to lift the front of the trailer up with a forklift so I could lower the landing gear and get back under it with the truck.

I've been driving for well over a year now and this is the first(and hopefully last) boneheaded thing that I have done. I know how serious this is and I know it could have turned out a hell of a lot worse.

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.
BK's Comment
member avatar

Whew! You are very fortunate for the way that worked out. I’ll bet you’ll never make that mistake again due to the traumatic nature of those types of incidents.

And thanks for being open and honest in sharing your experience. Very helpful reminder to us all.

When I first started, I wrote up a number of checklists to consult for each specific task. I kept the collection of checklists within reach so I could double check myself for each task. The checklists saved me on several occasions. With time, the written lists have become mental lists that still are essential. Recently, I got back in the seat and went over my mental list and realized I had not raised the landing gear. So that could have been a bad day.

Keep up the good work Brian.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
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Forgetting some part of the hook/unhook process is not uncommon. I've forgotten to unhook the air lines. I was reminded of the skipped step when I pulled out and heard a big whomp on the back of the tractor.

BK made up checklists for truck operations so he wouldn't forget something. But later these things became second nature.

However, Any time you get interrupted in one of these operations, you can easily forget.

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
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This is why I do the same thing, the exact same way, every time. Does it eliminate the risk? No, but it does increase my faith in my own controllable actions.

Super glad it wasn't worse for you.

Pianoman's Comment
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I did it too once. I got lucky also because it was an empty trailer. I think I’d been driving for about four years when it happened. The thing is, I’d never done it before because I have a process I follow every time I hook or unhook.

I had just recently (within the past six months) started doing flatbed and had to add a process to my drop and hooks. In flatbed, you generally have to swap equipment when you’re picking up a preloaded trailer that’s already been secured. So I had put my equipment on the trailer I was dropping before I fully disconnected and I forgot to finish my unhook process.

My process that keeps me from screwing up is to point and say, “Lines, landing gear, 5th wheel.” I do it every time I hook or unhook or if I’m ever unsure if I forgot something. I still point and say it out loud and I’ve been driving for over six years now. It works. Just don’t interrupt your process.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I know it could have turned out a hell of a lot worse.

Everyone makes mistakes. The thing is, with trucking, you just can't make a real big one. This wasn't so bad. I'm glad to hear that!

One thing I always did was a tug test before pulling away. I always did it every time. I figured something could have broken, and I'm unaware of it, or someone could have pulled the lever as a prank or sabotage. Who knows, right? So I always released the tractor brake, put it in gear, pulled lightly against the trailer to ensure it was attached, and off I went.

That would have prevented this from happening, so I just thought I'd throw it out there.

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

I've also had my share of 'almost big' mistakes. Having a process or routine, whatever works best for you, and sticking to it helps.

I will often double, triple, however many times recheck things to be sure I did them. I've pulled away bobtail and couldn't for the life of me remember securing the air lines and cord so I pulled over to check. Luckily I already secured it, but stuff like that makes for uneasy feelings!


"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Brian S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

The thing that I'm going to take away from this more than anything else is to not judge the severity of this mistake based opon the outcome. The outcome ended up being relatively inconsequential but the exact same mistake under a different set of circumstances could have been VERY consequential.

Definitely something I never wish to repeat.

Doug S.'s Comment
member avatar

yes mistakes do happen back when i was driving i made it a point to always back against the trailer before tugging lightly against it. Especially after spending the night in a truck stop cause you never can tell what moron walked by and pulled your pin while you were sleeping it happens all the time they think it’s funny but I’m glad to hear it wasn’t really serious for you good luck out there

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