Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Shaggy Highways" Revisited

This is my follow up to the previous "Shaggy Story" I posted: Three years ago, last May, I was going up the Bass Lake Grade (a 71/2%, sweeping S shaped incline between Sacramento and Placerville, Calif.) at 8:55 am. I was driving a set of double bottoms painted white, pulled by a bright yellow tractor. It was clear and calm. I had my 4-way hazard lights on as at about 79,680 lbs. I couldn't make more than 26 mph up that grade. I was in the far right lane of three, with plenty of visibility fore and aft, when this brand new full sized pick up truck ploughs into the left rear of my back trailer going an estimated 60 + mph. I felt the slight impact, looked back in my mirror, and saw him at a dead stop with the hood straight up in the #2 lane. I pulled off to the shoulder, and assisted several people who'd stopped to help. He had trouble breathing, but otherwise seemed in fair condition. Another trucker and I tried to put out the engine fire, but the P/U burned to the ground. Fortunately, he'd just dropped off his kids at school. The really good news was that he hit left of dead center where the tires are. If, as I pointed out to the the Highway Patrol officer, he'd centered me, the impact would've placed the stinger that protrudes from the rear of the back trailer about 24", into the cab of his truck and likely would've killed him outright. Yes, I've seen a lot of idiocy out there, most of it by 4-wheelers who are "in a hurry", blind to their surroundings. I could go on, but you get the idea. I also agree that there seem to be more and more truck drivers (not truckers) who don't take the same care as most of us "more mature" truckers do. Maybe it's because, here in California at least, one can get a commercial drivers license in any of 31 different languages. Get that foolishness off the books, and I'll guarantee you a better class of trucker on the road. (If you can't understand the hand written emergency warning sign, put up by someone in the driving rain, at night, I don't want you on "My Highway". Period!

No comments:

Post a Comment