Trucker perspectives

It takes just seconds to change your life 

by Ralph Brown of Columbus, OH

How often do you wish for a way to make things better for yourself on the road? I am not talking big changes, just a small one. I discovered a way to make that happen and it didn't cost me anything. I was traveling north on I-65 just south of Nashville about 5 p.m. on a Friday. I had to be in Columbus, OH, at 4 a.m. the next morning. I was getting pretty wound up as to how I was going to get through this mess and be on time. I was being passed on all sides. I had a four-wheeler cut across the front of my truck so close I couldn't see his taillights. I thought, "you (expletive), I'll teach you!" I stayed right there, letting him see nothing but my bumper. Then I saw a kid maybe 3 or 4 years old in the back seat, moving around no less, no child seat. I backed off.

I sat there and thought, what the hell was I doing? No load is worth a life. Matter of fact, my own life is worth more than any load.

I watched the big trucks flying by, heard them yak on the CB. I slowed down to the speed limit, got over to the right lane and relaxed, but I wasn't inattentive. I saw a big truck (one that flew by me) stuck in the wrong lane; had the chance to let him over and did. I saw others in the same situation and then I started to take the extra second to give them room. Where the road narrowed down a lane, I let the four-wheeler in instead of forcing him to slam on the brakes.

When I got out of the heavy traffic, there were the big trucks that had blasted by me. I watched a number of them pass me again. One asked "how did you get ahead of me?" I told him I slowed down. I then drove that way the rest of the run. I knew the route, I knew that the lane in Cincinnati was closed and backed off for a second so the truck beside me could get over. I got to Columbus on time.

I started doing this more often. Yes, I would start getting mad at the idiots, but then I would remember the run from Nashville. I started thinking about what it cost me to drive like that. I know some real smart person is going to tell me that those seconds cost x number of dollars. Someone else can say how much those seconds save in wear and tear and fuel? I will tell you this, they save me a lot . a lot of wear and tear on me.

I would like to see one other driver try it for a little while. Just take a second to give a little, if you are in an area that you know a driver is going to need to get over, take a second or two to look out for him. If it works for you, let someone else know. Get them to try it. It only takes a second.

There's a lesson here

by Paul Sasso of Edgewater, FL

After reading the interview with Mr. Hebe, I have come to some conclusions I would like to share. The first and most important is that with the strong leadership and member support that we have at OOIDA we can effect change. This is a lesson that the membership can spread to the rest of the industry as to the effectiveness of unity and our (as an organization) dedication to make the changes necessary to build a better workplace. I am glad that Mr. Hebe and Freightliner have modified their positions pertaining to black boxes and the place in the industry regarding regulations. I hope that in working together, our input from the operator's side and theirs from a manufacturer's side will bring about positive changes to benefit all. I believe he and Freightliner still have problems to address, but at least now the door is open a little more for discussion of such issues.

Thank you for an excellent interview that cleared up some things affecting us all. And to my brothers and sisters at OOIDA, since Jim and the staff at OOIDA give their all for us, don't they deserve the same in return? Spread the word that OOIDA is a force to be reckoned with and will not fade into the sunset as others have.