“Big Trucks are Scary!”

Interviewing a Non-Trucker about Trucking

Today I thought to have a chat with Ashleyy, a co-worker of my daughter from Winnipeg, MB.

Hi Ashleyy, what can you tell us about you? Are you familiar with trucks, or truckers and do you drive on the highway very much?

I do not drive on the highway very often at all!! I am usually a bit nervous on the highway, especially at night.

I don’t know any truckers nor am I familiar with trucks!

What is your background ? Have you spent most of your life in the city, and therefore mostly city driving, or have you spent time outside the city commuting to work or school?

I grew up in the city and never had to commute on the highway to school. I have a few friends outside the city so I do drive to their places sometimes but it’s never been enough to make me super comfortable on the highway. I would say I only go on the highway once every month or so.

Does the distance to your friends or the weather contribute to whether you go out or not?

Is there a certain type of truck that makes you more or less nervous? I’m talking like a longer truck being worse, or a gravel truck, or a truck hauling a box (van) trailer?
Does the cleanliness or graphics on the truck make any difference?

I don’t mind doing a drive to my friends but I am more likely to go in the day so I don’t have to drive at night as that is when I get super nervous. If it was really snowy or rainy I probably would stay home so as not to have to drive in that weather.

I don’t think I am more or less nervous about the different types of trucks, probably just the bigger it is the more scary!!

I don’t really care about if it’s clean or not, I mean unless it was super disgusting I might think it’s gross and they should wash it. Probably the graphics don’t make a difference to me. Unless I saw like one of those bobbly head things in the front with like a naked lady. Then I would roll my eyes at them. Not that I’ve ever seen that outside a movie lol.

There have been a few advertising billboards and tv spots encouraging car drivers to stay out of their blind zones and to give them more space; Does this help you?
What would make you more comfortable when driving on the roads around semi trucks?

Every time I am by a truck on the highway I get nervous that I am in their blind spot and they won’t see me and maybe try to switch lanes while I’m right there. I do not know where I got this idea, but maybe it was from those advertisements you are talking about.

All I know is I try to pass the trucks and try to go faster to get by in case I get into their blind zone. Also I feel like the wind gets trapped or something so I feel scared that the wind will push the car!

I think what would make me more comfortable was if I felt like I didn’t have to worry about being so small beside them and that they could crush me. While I technically  know about the blind spot I don’t know exactly where that even is so I just assume the can’t see me wherever I am unless I’m in front of them.

Those are pretty common concerns. Let me try to help a little. If you are behind the truck and can see a mirror on the truck, you can probably be seen by the truck. The exception can be when you are right beside the power unit. Every truck is a little different so the blind spots do vary. When you are directly in front of a truck (within a couple car lengths) the driver will not be able to see you very well either. With today’s streamlined trucks and lower hoods it’s not as bad as in the past. I have demonstrated to people riding with me to close their eyes at a traffic light before I stop. Then I pull close to the car, making it disappear, when they open their eyes they don’t see a car until the light turns green and a car magically appears in front.

Here’s a diagram that explains…


Passing quickly is a great practice, but obviously not so fast that will get you in trouble for speeding. Truckers love when a vehicle doesn’t sit beside them for a long time because of the buffeting winds that you were talking about. In slippery conditions those winds can blow a car around. Here’s an example with this. You’re passing a truck and a hard wind is blowing you toward the truck, then you get past the truck and the cushion of air provided by the truck is no longer there and you swerve to the left. Conversely, a wind pushing against the truck will not be felt by you as much until you pass the truck, then suddenly you get the full force pushing you towards the ditch.

Were these explanations any help to you?

Oh that is helpful! I didn’t realize that they couldn’t see you when you were in front of them too! Crazy!

Thanks for your help! Let’s work on some more questions for another blog!

New experiences

 

Thirty times I have seen fall change to winter while I hold a steering wheel of some kind. I’ve been in classic rides, oversize, off-road monsters, parades, convoys and your run-of-the-mill working rigs.

I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen or done it all. Every day has something unique.

This week I did something I’ve never done. Not in all those years of grabbing gears.

I’ve thought about doing this. I have talked to others about it. It’s a very common practise, but not for me.

This week I took the plunge.

I had a dog as my navigator. It’s nothing really that warrants a special article, but there were a few things that stood out.

We generally treat dogs (or any pet) better than ourselves. Here’s what I mean. I think nothing of running hard for a few hours, making a really quick stop, and then hammering out more miles. As most drivers, I get paid by the mile, so miles is what matters. Not with a dog though. Stops become a time to walk and play a little. No way I want to keep a dog in a truck and not let it run a little during the stops. Hmmm. Not a bad idea for the human either.

Here’s another example. At night, just before bedtime what do you do with a dog? A short walk and bathroom break is important. Can you guess if I made less miles because I spent a little more time during stops? Nope. I still did all the miles I needed.  

I look after myself better now, than I used to. I need to. It’s the only way I can survive after the injuries and wear and tear of life. Yet, I’m still more concerned about how the dog is looked after than myself.

We can be great at helping others, and making sure our pets are looked after, but not so good with ourselves.

I’ll use this experience to continue along my way towards better health. Stops may involve more smelling the flowers and looking at the beauty around me. I may kick up my heels and be excited to see other people. Maybe there’ll be a short walk before bed to get some fresh air before sleep.

The dog is at home and I doubt if she’ll go for another ride but it was enlightening.  

Thirty times I have seen fall change to winter while I hold a steering wheel of some kind. I’ve been in classic rides, oversize, off-road monsters, parades, convoys and your run-of-the-mill working rigs.

I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen or done it all. Every day has something unique.

This week I did something I’ve never done. Not in all those years of grabbing gears.

I’ve thought about doing this. I have talked to others about it. It’s a very common practise, but not for me.

This week I took the plunge.

I had a dog as my navigator. It’s nothing really that warrants a special article, but there were a few things that stood out.

We generally treat dogs (or any pet) better than ourselves. Here’s what I mean. I think nothing of running hard for a few hours, making a really quick stop, and then hammering out more miles. As most drivers, I get paid by the mile, so miles is what matters. Not with a dog though. Stops become a time to walk and play a little. No way I want to keep a dog in a truck and not let it run a little during the stops. Hmmm. Not a bad idea for the human either.

Here’s another example. At night, just before bedtime what do you do with a dog? A short walk and bathroom break is important. Can you guess if I made less miles because I spent a little more time during stops? Nope. I still did all the miles I needed.  

I look after myself better now, than I used to. I need to. It’s the only way I can survive after the injuries and wear and tear of life. Yet, I’m still more concerned about how the dog is looked after than myself.

We can be great at helping others, and making sure our pets are looked after, but not so good with ourselves.

I’ll use this experience to continue along my way towards better health. Stops may involve more smelling the flowers and looking at the beauty around me. I may kick up my heels and be excited to see other people. Maybe there’ll be a short walk before bed to get some fresh air before sleep.

The dog is at home and I doubt if she’ll go for another ride but it was enlightening.  

Thirty times I have seen fall change to winter while I hold a steering wheel of some kind. I’ve been in classic rides, oversize, off-road monsters, parades, convoys and your run-of-the-mill working rigs.

I’ve seen a lot, but I haven’t seen or done it all. Every day has something unique.

This week I did something I’ve never done. Not in all those years of grabbing gears.

I’ve thought about doing this. I have talked to others about it. It’s a very common practise, but not for me.

This week I took the plunge.

I had a dog as my navigator. It’s nothing really that warrants a special article, but there were a few things that stood out.

We generally treat dogs (or any pet) better than ourselves. Here’s what I mean. I think nothing of running hard for a few hours, making a really quick stop, and then hammering out more miles. As most drivers, I get paid by the mile, so miles is what matters. Not with a dog though. Stops become a time to walk and play a little. No way I want to keep a dog in a truck and not let it run a little during the stops. Hmmm. Not a bad idea for the human either.

Here’s another example. At night, just before bedtime what do you do with a dog? A short walk and bathroom break is important. Can you guess if I made less miles because I spent a little more time during stops? Nope. I still did all the miles I needed.  

I look after myself better now, than I used to. I need to. It’s the only way I can survive after the injuries and wear and tear of life. Yet, I’m still more concerned about how the dog is looked after than myself.

We can be great at helping others, and making sure our pets are looked after, but not so good with ourselves.

I’ll use this experience to continue along my way towards better health. Stops may involve more smelling the flowers and looking at the beauty around me. I may kick up my heels and be excited to see other people. Maybe there’ll be a short walk before bed to get some fresh air before sleep.

The dog is at home and I doubt if she’ll go for another ride but it was enlightening.  

2017 Part 2

Part 2

I’d had my eye on a company for several years. I did some hotshot work for them in the early 90’s and watched them grow in size. I never applied for work there because I loved the coast to coast type of trucking, plus running the Ice Roads in NWT and they were mainly in the upper midwest USA and prairie provinces in Canada. I knew the second generation was now running the business and many of the older drivers were still there, which was a good sign.

I walked in, resume and driving abstract in hand, hoping to talk to someone but not expecting it. I was shown to a board room and to my surprise I spent the next 2 hours talking to the President of the company. I was floored that he would spend that much time interviewing a driver.

Over the next few days I applied at another company as well and prepared to get back to work. My motto is to work where I want to work, not just where I can get hired. Not everyone can do that but I have enough experience and a clean driving record to be able to make that choice.

I did my research and decided to come to work for that first company and I’ve been so thankful for such a great place to work. I was interviewed for that length of time because the owners are really particular on getting people that fit into their company.

It’s been an amazing 8 months. Physically and mentally it’s been very hard but I have put my focus on continuing to recover. Some things have suffered as I continue this journey such as keeping my website updated, some projects at home or visiting friends. If it hasn’t paid my bills, or involved my family, it’s probably been delayed. Learning, and staying within my limits is important for good health.   

I knew between Christmas and New Years I would take time to rest so I just kept turning the miles under my tires. I didn’t look at the numbers, just did what I could and I was surprised in the end.

I couldn’t have been as successful as I have been without the company, family and friends behind me .

Now I’ve had several days of just R&R and it’s been wonderful.

I don’t know if it’s a very compelling story, but I’m proud to be here. I’m thankful. It’s been another year of gritty determination.

Never give up. Maybe it’s easier to quit but I don’t know about that. What I do know is that in my 50 years I should’ve died a couple times. I’ve had serious injuries and severe depression that has threatened my life. I’ll deal with issues as long as I live.

I have learned many things in my journey. I’m a better man because of the hardships.

Thank you for reading.