Wave a Trucker On Through

Do something nice for a trucker, please. These guys put in so many days which would try the patience of the gentlest person you know.

They take longer to stop; more space to turn; need more visibility than they are ever afforded to back up. They approach many a loading dock which was only designed for "straight trucks" (24 feet) over thirty years ago.

These men and women are often told to hurry up as much as possible in the on-loading of a shipment and in the drive to a customer's shop or job site. Upon arrival they find no receiver present. In a phone call they are told, "Oh, Charlie is also overseeing another job about 20 miles distant. Give him a call at *** and then probably in about 40 minutes you'll have your men and machinery". It is the classic "hurry up...and wait" scenario.

They are constantly expected to make the quick stop or lane change in heavy traffic. Other motorists will only comment, "They are professionals. They should be up for this". I know of one driver who came into our plant all white-faced with the passenger side of his truck cab all smashed forward. An erratic change by a small car in front had required braking. His load consisted of bundles of banded hollow tubing, quite greasy. The middle items of one bundle had telescoped forward in the stopping. When he heard the noise he thought for an instant that he was a dead man. And incidentally, his company had not taken effort at that time to install "headache boards" at the front of flat-bed trailers to protect cab and driver. All that got changed of course, after the fact.

Let us not forget the heated traffic jams, the accidents, the construction closures, the no truck street signs, the piled up weigh scale lines, the regulatory controls on weight, width and length or the picky MTO compliance officers in the green and white cars. In spite of all, it is often the trucker who has the compassion to stop at a roadside emergency to render assistance. Some corporate fleets have made this mandatory, with exceptional first-aid training thrown in as well.

For additional input on health, personal, financial and emotional stresses faced by truckers, consider our earlier post entitled "Ready to Give the Reason" (October 19, 2010).

Perhaps some of the above will coax you to give a trucker a break. He deserves it.


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