Friday, November 27, 2009

I Wuz Thankful

That I didn't pile up my truck Tuesday. Two of us were north of McCook, NE on US83 - northbound. I was following. We'd caught a slow chicken hauler. My compadre had gotten around him, and I was working on the same.

That is some hilly, rolling country with a lot of curves and few passing zones. There is a southbound truck lane not too far north of McCook, and when I and the chicken hauler arrived, I could see that after a car went by, I'd be clear to pass. I see a lot of people go ahead and pass in that situation if the oncoming car is in their far right lane - but I don't like to do that. It makes me twitchy when someone comes at me in a lane intended for traveling in the opposite direction, and I'm sure I'd have made the driver of that car extremely nervous if they had to meet a semi and an oversized load in that situation.

So, I was poised to jump - I had a bit of the oncoming lane staked out, watching to time my move. When the car cleared, I stomped on the throttle and turned left - almost immediately hitting a white Ford 3/4 ton pickup in the lane beside me. How did I know it was a 3/4 ton? It had the extended mirrors that barely cleared my "rookie rod" - or bumper guide. That idjut had to have seen me peeking around the other semi, the oncoming car, my turn signals, and the fact that I was already partly in the lane he staked out for himself.

The reason his mirror barely cleared the rookie rod? Because he swerved to miss me?

Au contraire mon frere. It's because I stomped on the brakes and swerved hard to the right. After I had just cut to the left.

Semis don't care for confused inputs like that.

Just about any vehicle does not care for stomping on the brakes while turning sharply at speed. Dirt trackers use that technique to put their racers in a slide. Trucks don't like to slide very well.

I'd have preferred to not stomp on the brakes, but the gap between my front bumper and the rear of the trailer ahead of me was closing fast. I could feel the truck sliding a bit and leaning over - and now it was swerving to the right. So, I had to cut 'er back to the left until I could feel the bite in the wheel. A few corrections like that corkscrewed the rig back into a stable rolling mode. I think when I turned back to the right the trailer - which was one of our single axle drop decks - had drifted to the left. Turning back to the left helped bring it back into equilibrium. I've noticed in the past that those trailers seem to be less stable than tandem axle trailers.

Well, my heart had basically jumped out of my ribcage through my throat. It did not affect my power of speech, because I fear I turned the airwaves on the CB band blue. My compadre and I were running on our "company channel" - which is 24 if yer interested - and he got to hear me vent. I had to gather myself for a minute or three before I was ready to try to pass the chicken hauler - again. Compadre spotted an opening for me, and I got by.

Then, I noticed I was catching the impatient sob. I mentioned this to my coworker - who is senior to me in our little world - and he asked me what I was gonna do?

Well, I'd sure like to put him in the weeds, but I fear the crew chief back home wouldn't care for that too much. Maybe I could get his tag number and turn him in.

We're both NASCAR fans, btw.

Past experience has shown me what a waste the second option is - most of the time the officer who is supposed to take your story is gone, and you play phone tag, and he doesn't return your calls like he says he will. Or they chase in the wrong direction. Or you'll see a patrolman after you call in, but he ain't doin' nuttin.' Basically, my experience with reporting bad driving is if the cops don't see it, it didn't happen. Their level of concern is somewhat less than impressive, IMHO.

At any rate, before I caught up, we had to turn off on another road.

Now, when there are several people waiting to pass someone, the first vehicle has the right of way. If I notice they aren't looking to pass, and turn down several very good and safe openings, then I've waited long enough and I'll pass them, too. I've been courteous and given them their opportunities. If I see someone actively trying to pass the slow vehicle, I'm not cutting in line, as it were.

I usually try to contain my language here, but I'm gonna cut loose a bit. If you are such a self important impatient prick that you have to pass me while I'm cutting over to pass, then you'd better at least fucking drive faster than me after you've cut me off and nearly made me wreck.


threecollie said...

Glad you didn't roll it. I don't envy folks who drive all the time these many idiots out there...

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

Was the fool texting? I'da ran him off the road for sure if he was. Just on principle.

Jinglebob said...

I'm glad you survived! Take heart, the fool probably had no idea he even did anything wrong and probably cussed you!

Ah, life! It's sweet, ain't it?