Bad Directions

by Tumbleweed

How many times have you ducked going under an overpass that did not appear tall enough to let you travel underneath it with your trailer? I've done it a couple of times and always had a good laugh when a voice would come over the radio asking, "Okay. Who ducked?"

What's even worse? Getting directions from people whom I wonder how on earth they make it to work! It's annoying and even more aggravating when you're driving a large car and this happens. Unless they've been in a big truck themselves, they have NO IDEA what kind of trouble a rig can get into when directions are wrong.

Hubby and I had a load of frozen food going into Chicago one July. God, it was hot! I just happened to get to drive during the day because hubby wasn't feeling too well. I had stopped long before getting into town in order to get directions. As most of you know, Chicago was absolutely chock full of underpasses which, until the mid-1990s, were usually too low and routes around had to be found. I knew this. So, I made sure that I asked the receiver, endlessly, about underpasses that were en route, and he patiently told me every time that they had all been "dug out" to allow the big rigs.

I'm confident as I make my way through Chicago traffic, which is fairly heavy in mid-morning, and hubby is feeling good enough to sit in the jump-seat and "side-seat" drive. However, he makes it known to me that he does not like the route and I assured him that the receiver assured me that this was right. We had already negotiated two or three underpasses successfully.

Just a few blocks from delivery, traffic had thickened and the smooth flow of traffic came to a stop at a red light. So, I stop...under an overpass. And what happens to a truck when you hit the brakes? Uh-huh, you got it. They fill up with air...which does what to the trailer? (Groan)


So the light changes to green and I step on the go-pedal...and move a little bit, but it seems like the brakes are on. We aren't going any further and can't figure out why. Hubby moans loudly in protest and gets out of the truck. People are starting to honk because I'm not moving. Hubby comes back a couple of minutes later, madder'n a wet hen. He yells at me that we aren't going anywhere for a while.

Now, I'm getting angry simply because I know I didn't do anything wrong, least of all, and getting yelled at. I holler right back and ask what the *$%@ is it?

When the brakes filled up, the trailer came right up to the underside of the overpass and when I got that little bit of forward motion, the ridge along the top of the back doors hung up on the back side of the overpass and pulled the door frame partially from the truck! God, it's hot here in July! And we're toting frozen food! A couple of cops pull up and of course, they want to talk to the driver! I'm just waiting for one of those "where are you delivering the bridge" jokes. But things don't get that far because there are too many hotheads out there trying to get around me and the traffic has just quadrupled in the last 10 minutes.

I don't remember how we got that big truck out of there, but it took most of the day. From that day forward, I NEVER took the receivers' word for underpasses again. And any time we had to deliver in Chicago, I called the police department to find out which underpasses were high enough!


Hours Of Service

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

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