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Travels of a Trucker Overcoming Your Fears!

November 12, 2012

Anyone who has any experience in the trucking industry also knows that fear can be a common everyday thing. It isn’t something that we continue to show outwardly but it is something that is always in the back of our minds. From the Black Ice we travel over to the Blizzard like snow conditions to the Wet Snow which forces us to chain up to the awkward blind corner backing up. Whatever gives us fear, whatever gives us those butterflies in our stomachs we always have to overcome them as truckers and drivers of big vehicles which can have devastating consequences when we go out of control. But in the end we overcome these fears and things turn out all right.

2 months ago I was coming back from Calgary and on the Roger’s pass there was a terrible accident which the driver passed away from. You may recall I mentioned it in a previous blog post. The driver was a new driver with only 6 months experience travelling with a pack of other drivers. Sometimes when we have that pack mentality we forget that we are driving heavy vehicles and we start to let loose a little since we are travelling in a pack. Consider it akin to being in a Wolf Pack where the Wolves in numbers can be deadly to most animals they encounter, but alone they are less aggressive. This driver had obviously been going too fast and what should have been a standard Calgary to Vancouver run cost a man his life and cost a company probably over a hundred thousand dollars in claims. As a driver when we see things like this it puts things into a more clearer perspective about what speed does.

The bottom line is that as drivers we are expected to go with the flow of traffic and this means we have to do what we can without affecting traffic too much behind us. If we are too fearful we begin to travel too slow which puts the average motorist behind us in a position where they will or they may do actions which endanger themselves or us. We need to overcome our fears and travel at road speeds when appropriate.

Snow is an ongoing thing which as drivers who travel through the mountains we must overcome consistently. We may sometimes dislike it, it may be a hindrance. It may cause hard visibility conditions. It may be something which gets our heart pounding, but yet as a driver we must overcome this. Our job dictates to us that we must get through it. As a truck driver we have to overcome our fear of snow.

Black Ice is a constant fear factor both before actual winter hits and when it is almost over. Where conditions exist that the road is warm in the day and cold in the night there will occur Black Ice. It is something that a seasoned driver knows full well will be there regardless if he wants it or not. It is a fearful prospect to go sliding off the road, off a bridge, off a mountain cliff. It is something which we dislike thinking about, but it is always there in the back of our minds. Of course it is only human nature to be fearful of this, but as a truck driver we put it in the back of our minds and we begin to think about the situation with a clearer mind about how we are going to deal with it if it happens.

Tight corners and Blind Side backing are things which every driver must get used to. As drivers of large vehicles there will always be moments when a shipper says grab that door and that door will always be the tightest damn corner with 2 trailers on either side and no room to turn around in. We have to focus and not worry about what will happen. We need to focus instead on how we will do the maneuver. If it means getting out a hundred times to look where our trailer is in relation to where the other trailers are and where we need to be, then that is what we have to do. Worrying and being fearful of hitting the other trailers will do you no good since you have no choice where to put the trailer.

Night Driving and Rain has always been a pet peeve of mine. With a bad night vision acuity and adding   rain to the mix, it seriously makes me irritated. But as a driver this is something we have to adjust to. A lot of your driving as a driver will be at night and if you can’t or won’t drive at night, you won’t make it very long as a highway driver. Night driving is just something we say it’s time to git er done.

Night Driving in general in the Summer is a pleasant experience. With no traffic to bother, a driver can cover a heck of a lot of terrain at night. We must also be aware that at night is when a lot of animals become active and we should always be ever vigilant for them coming onto the road.

While no doubt driving as we know presents challenges and difficulties, as long as we drive within our abilities and be alert and careful in our habits, we should be fine. It isn’t as one fellow driver put it…Rocket Science” but it does take Ability, Skill and Common Sense and some people really lack those qualities. So my dear readers I leave you with this…never have too much fear for fear itself will be your hindrance, but be cautious and react to those events which you must in a safe manner. You may not escape every event which comes your way through the years, but you will be in a position after time to deal with those events and be able to handle them as a seasoned driver should handle them.

Thanks for reading.





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