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Travels of a Trucker The Need for Speed

December 11, 2011

recently I was looking back through my albums and reminiscing about some of my travels on the road. Mainly looking at them for my blog, but also remembering those who are not home for the holidays at this time of year. You see BC is a mountainous region and we see a lot of accidents which result in fatalities. Unfortunately, these accidents are sometimes not just accidents. They are a result of a need for speed which combined with weather makes a huge impact upon the accident itself. Now I’m not talking simply a driver driving into the center ditch of a median or sliding across the road and running into a snowbank. I am talking about horrific accidents which have resulted in trucks going through guardrails of bridges with steep drops. I am talking about trucks going head on with other trucks. The problem lies therein that had these same drivers slowed down during the adverse conditions they most likely would have made it through these tragic accidents. Unfortunately they did not and my heartfelt sorrow goes out to their families at this time of year when they should be happily singing and enjoying each other’s company.

Trucks are heavy beasts. They carry a lot of weight and it does take a lot to get them off the road. They are heavily anchored to the ground and they have a good center point of gravity which makes them durable and hardy to be effective in most weather conditions. Even the sleeper berth provides a good feeling of warmth and security during heavy rains or snowfalls and even on the darkest of nights crawling into the cab and snuggling with a warm blanket provides a great sense of comfort. However, even with all the weight, there are times when trucks are no better off than any other vehicle on the highway. Things like Black Ice can make a truck go skating. Corners that are slick and speed can create a false sense of centrifugal force which pushes the truck away from it’s Center of Gravity and the heavy inertia with a distributed load pattern makes the truck a recipe for disaster when combined with speed.

Now as I said before I was thinking about these things cause I have seen and heard of a lot of truck accidents as I am sure most of you who read this blog have heard many tales before. I cannot count the number of accidents I have had to wait for on the highway before the carnage was cleaned up or had to drive through or even heard and read about. I can recall incidences in almost every Province across Canada that has involved a big truck. The problem isn’t that there are a lot of them, the problem is that the aftermath and the during is so full of carnage that one can’t help but hear of it because of the economic and social impact each one has. From death to millions of dollars in claims each one takes it’s toll on families, trucking companies and insurance companies.

A couple of years ago, I was travelling through BC towards Golden headed back home from Calgary. It had snowed hard and the weather conditions had not been the greatest. The day before had been really terrible and what followed was what I am sure just utter terror and sheer carnage. I was not around, but I drove through the aftermath and recalling the chatter on the CB was just so awful sounding. It was a 4 truck collision during a bad snowstorm. Visibility was poor and the roads slick. Apparently, one truck came around a corner too fast and spun out of control. The driver coming from the other way got hit by the trailer the out of control driver had. Another driver following behind the out of control truck hit his brakes hard but it was too late. He too went through the trailer. Another driver in the opposite lane had no chance. He rear ended the first guy who had got hit, rammed him into the lane of the guy who went through the trailer and there was a head on collision. As you can imagine this must have just been sheer terror not knowing what to expect and not knowing what to do. 4 trucks in a collision because of speed and following too closely.

As you can see, the next day when I made it through the accident scene, conditions were still not great.

The following are what remained of 3 of the trucks that I saw as I passed this accident scene.

Now the point of my article is The Need for Speed. Sometimes we as commercial drivers take our trucks for granted in what they can do and our abilities are sometimes overconfident. Being careful, adjusting your driving habits to the conditions and adjusting your driving speed and slowing down factor should all be taken into consideration. Imagine trying to remember what a braking distance is when you did your road test. It takes a truck a lot longer to slow and stop than a car does. Compound this with ice and snow on the road and you can almost triple or quadruple these statistics if you are lucky enough to be able to stop safely in time. This is exactly why we need to reduce our need for speed and travel accordingly. Now this article although intended for drivers of big trucks should not be taken lightly by those who drive cars and pickup trucks too. I may have heard about a lot of truck accidents, but I have heard 10x more about accidents with those in smaller vehicles and this too with the Need for Speed is a major reason why. So next time weather conditions are adverse or your on unfamiliar roads, just take a second and think about what you are doing and slow down. It’s all it takes to arrive alive and celebrate the holodays with loved ones each year.

Thanks for reading travels of a Trucker. Until my next post, keep em sunny side up and have a safe ride. If you like my stories, be sure to follow along by email, or through Google connect or through twitter. You can also join me on my Facebook Page here.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Travels-of-a-Trucker/256861804368734?sk=wall

As always, please share the love of my blogs and help me increase my readership. If your a company or a sponsor looking to do a promotion, please feel free to contact me. If you are a sponsor looking to have a product tested which is designed for trucks or truckers, please send your product to:

Roger Simmons

2130 8th ave

New Westminster, BC V3M2T8

Canada

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One Comment
  1. Awesome blog, Roger! Looking forward to keeping up with your travels 🙂

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