Sometimes You Face Difficult Driving Challenges In Trucking

by Rhonda

What a change from last night! Sometimes you have these days and nights of skill testing if you drive a semi. I did not have a leisurely drive to Fort Smith as I normally do. I couldn't just relax, enjoy the drive, and drink my coffee. This was not meant to be. I had to work to stay safe and keep others safe too on this trip.

Battling For Position With A Tractor Trailer

There was bumper to bumper traffic in town and for the next hour while driving to my destination. Traffic racing to get around you before the right lane ends due to merging. Naturally these vehicles are ¼ mile behind you as you look in your mirrors to keep an eye on them. You have to. I am just a couple blocks from that lane that ends and there is no way they can get there before me, but they try. Here they come, only to find out they have to slam on their brakes and get in the line BEHIND me and they should have just stayed put instead of trying to get ahead of a big truck. I dealt with "Let's change lanes and cut off the semi before it can pass" game. Many who passed me swerved in front of me so close that I had to hit my brakes to avoid hitting them. And some also slowed down once they got in front of me. Guess you just have to be in front of the big truck and then slow me down so I can't maintain my speed.

I was already on the interstate and the lead vehicle trying to merge from the ramp saw me coming. Even though I was ahead of him and I knew I would be at the end of the ramp entrance to the interstate before him, he sped up to beat me to that point. He found out it was not going to work in this bumper to bumper traffic. There was plenty of room for him to have merged behind me instead of trying to get ahead of me. So, I reach the point of the merging as planned, ahead of the lead vehicle. I can see him in my mirrors and brace myself for an accident. This vehicle is determined to still get on the interstate ahead of me! My trailer is now at the merged point and I am ahead of that point in the tractor. I am waiting for this car to go under the trailer. I'm trying to see forward, to my left, and of course watching the right side through the mirrors. In these few seconds I am wondering if I will roll the semi and if that happens, the vehicles on my left are in for a huge surprise. Or will I drag this vehicle and rip it to pieces and have a death to deal with??? At the last possible second, the vehicle slows down and moves away from me, almost coming to a complete stop. So many drivers think they have the right of way when on the ramp. Wrong! You are the one to merge safely with the traffic and maybe stop if needed. Naturally I am thankful that nothing happened.

My nerves were shot by the time I reached my destination. After I dropped the trailer and got the empty one, I finally got to have some of my coffee from my thermos. I took a few moments to relax before facing this traffic for the rest of the night. So thankful to make it home with no mishaps.

A Much Easier Day of Driving

But today is a leisurely day of driving. So relaxing and I can enjoy the fall colors. My first stop will be for breakfast and my first cup of coffee. I can hardly wait to savor the first bite of my sausage egg McMuffin! I love those things. I walk in and tell the counter person, "I'll have the sausage egg McMuffin and coffee to go, please." I'm asked if this is to go or to eat in. Did you not hear me??? Did I mess up your speech by saying it first??? I again say, "This is to go." My order is handed to me and I rush out to the truck to get back on the interstate before biting into my sausage egg Mcmuffin. Couldn't wait! I get the first bite on the ramp. Then I realize that what I have is not a sausage egg McMuffin - it's an egg McMuffin! I knew I should have checked the order before leaving. I'm not happy. I frantically look for my ticket and sure enough, it does say "sausage egg McMuffin." I finished eating, but it just was not what I wanted. Next is the coffee that lasts me to my destination.

It is a beautiful fall day with the sun coming into and then out of view many times as I go through all the hills. When you go through the valleys and near the rivers, you can see the steam and fog rising and it blankets everything. Patches of it were close to the ground with the sun shining above it. You can see this for miles and it also looks like smoke from a distance. All the fall colors blend in perfect harmony. It is an awesome sight to see. Breathtaking.

When I arrive at the receiver, my country station and a rock station are coming in on the same frequency and it does not make good listening. Have not had this happen before. This lasts as long as it takes me to check in with the guard, park loaded trailer, get my empty, and get back on the interstate.

The drive back was even prettier now with more sunlight. I get to enjoy this view for one more trip. I finished my assignment early in the afternoon. Time to go home and enjoy this beautiful day.


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


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

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