Thursday, December 29, 2011

I've Been Fortunate

Jess at Scratching to Escape has a thought provoking post up today about horrific highway accidents to remind us to be careful on the roads today.

In all my years over the road and all the miles I've seen, I have to say that fortune has preceded me. Never have run up on a bad accident. Yeah, I've gone through the temporary one lane road and seen the carnage written in glass and steel, and what none of us want to see covered with blue plastic tarps. Never have I encountered one of these scenes fresh after it happened.

Which bothers me not.

Of course, I've heard stories. One in particular haunts me to this day, just because I can see it in my mind's eye.

One of my trucking buddies had just started as an owner operator hauling grain, and was following his lease owner (the original "Tubby Trucker") on their way to get another load west of Jetmore, KS on K156 highway. They were behind a cow hauler - all three easing along eastbound. There is a bad intersection where if one pulls up to the stop sign, one cannot really see what is coming from the west. If you stay back a ways, there is a rise where the traffic can be seen, but once yer in the hole, forget it.

An elderly school bus driver found himself in that hole, and pulled out directly in front of the cow hauler. With a load of children. Of course, there were questions about his ability to drive and why he was allowed to drive a bus in the first place, but all that was just arguments after the fact. The cabover truck t-boned the bus and split it open.

My two fellow drivers were unable to shut down, and had to drive through the mess.

My buddy "Rhubarb" is a man of few words. All he said was: "Jeff, I had to try to dodge pieces of kids. I'll never be able to forget that."

Well, my friend, neither have I.


Jess said...

That would be horrible.

I had a close call one evening while driving home. A man was walking along the edge line on a dark stretch of highway. Everything he had on was dark, so I didn't see him until the last moment.

I jerked the wheel to the left and must have missed him by inches. If I had waited an instant, I would have scattered him over the highway.

James said...

gets you thinking about past near misses, I was in a car with a group of friends that took a turn badly and the car ended side up in the ditch, nobody was hurt but we had crossed a busy road missing a head-on smash..