"My father is a trucker, and I have a few stories of when I accompanied him. Probably the best would be the time we were solicited by a lot lizard in Colorado.
It was night, and we were parked at a truck stop and about to go to sleep. I was 15 at the time and had to go to the bathroom, so I told my dad and he said: 'You know where the bathrooms are.'
I open the door to go to the truck stop facilities, and there is a woman looking up at me. She asks if I was the guy she was talking to on the radio. I say no. She then smiles and asks if I want some company. Decision time. It had never crossed my mind that she was a streetwalker, I thought she was just homeless and wanted a warm place to spend the night. I say: 'Sure. You look like you could use some friendly company.' Luckily, my dad notices this exchange and shoos her, as one would a stray dog before she even began climbing into the cab. He still makes fun of me for almost inviting in a lot lizard."
"I always feel that popular films give us trucker guys a bad impression. Not all of us are heavy metal lovers in jagged jeans and rowdy looking. Years on the road has given us a lot of stories, and a lot of experiences. The best part is the interstate driving; there is a lot to see and the ever-waving hands of kids in cars.
I have a CB radio that I often use to amuse the children with. For trips lasting more than a day, it's pretty much fun only if you have company. Gas stations and truckers stop are a wonderful meeting point. Most of the time, I have no idea of the variety of things I would haul. Just in vague terms like merchandising or household goods.
Once I was traveling up north and came up behind a car that was going at a steady pace but waving in and out of the lanes. My partner and I had a guess that the driver was going sleepy and we tried our best to catch up along the car. We noticed the car had the CB antenna sticking up and were able to get the particular person on CB. We were able to jog awake the person and convince him to take a break. The driver was a doctor who was going upstate to attend a call."
"My father told me last week about a couple years ago when he was driving a road train, here in Queensland, Australia. It was him and three other road trains I think, and he was second in line. Some guy tried to overtake all of them before the overtaking lane ended. This lane isn't very long, and they are few and far between along this road.
Now, this guy had run out of the room by the time he had gotten to the truck at the front, and so he went off the road and rolled his car. The trucks all stopped and my father got out and ran towards the car, which was now on fire. The first truck driver was much closer to the car than my father was, due to these trucks being a good hundred meters long. When my dad got there, the truck driver had his hands in the air as if to say: 'Screw this, nope, I can't handle this.' What he had seen was the man, still conscious, flailing about in the car, burning alive. My dad didn't want to see something so horrid, so he didn't look, but he was still haunted by the fact a man was alive one minute, driving past him, but was now in the burning car he saw ahead. The truck driver is still basically a basket case today, from what I've heard. He still can't get over it and feels terrible, but it's definitely not his fault.
Driving back from the road trip, someone tried overtaking my father again on that same stretch of road. There were police up ahead and the guy was up to about 200km just to get ahead of dad before the lane ended. So he slams on the brakes just before he can get seen by the coppers, and my dad says he barely braked in time to not send him flying ahead, due to road trains having a much harder time braking than a car does. They get pulled over and my dad abused this guy because he was still upset about the night before and he didn't want to see that stuff again, and the guy acted like he had no idea what he did. I have never seen my dad afraid, but I could see in his eyes how scared he was when he told me this because that moment terrified him so much that he could have been the guy who had taken another man's life so quickly.
I hope that people can understand that trucks, especially road trains, don't have the same capabilities as cars, and you should know how to act around them, and know how they work."
"My dad's a trucker. He always tells me about a late-night delivery he made once, in Chicago.
It's probably around 11:30 p.m. and he pulls up to a red light. He's the only vehicle in sight. Out of nowhere, some guy knocks on his window. My dad cracks it a bit, asks him what he wants.
'You got change for a twenty?' asks the guy.
My dad's suspicious at this point. He just says: 'Nope, sorry', and rolls up his window. But he's still stuck at the red light, and this guy's still just standing there on the side of his truck (on the little step to get in), knocking and asking for change.
Finally, the light turns green, and my dad starts to pull forward. The guy is still hanging there for a bit, but eventually, he hops (or maybe falls) off. My dad steps on the gas and gets about a block away before he meets another red light. He looks out his mirror, and there's that same guy in a full-on sprint chasing behind him.
My dad looks around, sees no other cars, and pulls away through the red light before the guy gets to his truck again.
According to my dad, the 'change for a twenty' thing is a pretty common ploy to get truckers to open up their trucks. Since they've got a lot of possessions in their cabs, they're pretty a good target for theft. Presumably, that's what was going on here."
My trucking days were horrible, but I got some good stories from them. Going south on I-75 in Georgia at around 3 a.m., I see this bright light about two miles behind me. Not only is it bright, but it is on the interstate and it is HAULING MY TAIL. It's big too, and it's moving faster than anything I think I'd ever seen. Earlier that day, I had called the guy who taught me how to drive, and he was superstitious about life on the road. He would tell me stories about how a green apparition chased him in Florida when he was pulling too many miles, all kinds of stuff. I was already spooked from that conversation earlier, so looking into my mirror and seeing this giant light FLYING towards me made my butt clench onto the seat. This thing closes the distance between us and FLIES past me, probably doing around 120. I had the window down and as it went past me, I felt this massive amount of HEAT. When it passed me, I could finally tell what it was.
It was a hay hauler, a truck that hauls a trailer designed for hay, and the ENTIRE LOAD OF HAY IN THE BACK WAS ABLAZE.
I jumped on the CB and screamed: 'DRIVER, YOUR TRAILER IS ON FIRE!' The driver comes back in a surprisingly calm voice with: 'I know, I'm just letting it burn off. I figure if I go fast enough, I can keep my cab from getting burned.'
Around 2007-2008 I was a trucker, and it was about 2:30 a.m. in Georgia. I was in the sticks about 100 miles north of Atlanta on I-75, and I was alone in a drop yard for trailers. I was there to drop off my current trailer and hook another one, all I had to do was go pick up my paperwork from the mailbox and go. I loved stuff like this, no screw-ups, the load is ready for me to pick up, no waiting around, great.
Now, my entire life, there has been this weird phenomenon that has followed me. You know those halogen street lights? I would say about 60 percent of those lights I walk under will go dark. It's the strangest thing if I walk down a street at night, it's not strange at all if every light I walk under, goes out, and when I walk away from it, it comes back on, I walk the streets in darkness. I have no idea why it happens.
Anyway, back to Georgia. I've dropped my first trailer, backed under the trailer I'm picking up, got my paperwork and I'm raising the landing gear. I'm standing under a big streetlight and guess what, it goes out. No big deal, but I say out loud to no one in particular: 'I wonder why that always happens?'
A calm voice from about three feet away said: 'Show of respect.'
A voice. No one was around for miles, I was out in the middle of nowhere, there was no one there, I heard it plain as day. It was a man's voice, it wasn't loud, scary or intimidating, it spoke very matter of factly: 'Show of respect.'
I freaked out, jumped in the truck and moved 80,000 pounds faster than I ever thought I could move it.
I'm not crazy. I have no history of mental illness except for my ADHD and no history of mental illness in my family. I don't even tell this story to people because of the looks I get. THIS HAPPENED. And ever since then I've wrestled with the question, what does it mean?"
"I've been trucking in the oilfield for two years now. I narrowly avoided a head-on collision with a single prop plane and had a brake pod blow off a truck in front of me and fire past me at an insane speed. I've seen a coworker go into a ditch during a blizzard and jump a lease road and get a good 10 feet of air, fully loaded 40-ton unit do a complete 360 and stay on the road and kept going like nothing happened. I've gone down a hill jackknife at 70 mph and somehow recover. I've seen some stuff, man.
For the prop plane near-incident, I was driving a body job picker unit with a few bags of sand on the flat deck from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Grande Prairie, Alberta at dusk. Just before the border, my headlights started reflecting off something in the sky ahead of me and I couldn't tell what it was. Seconds before hitting me, I realize it's a plane coming right for my driver's seat. All I could do was slam on my brakes. The ditches were so deep on either side and the road was so narrow I couldn't really swerve. The pilot pulled up just a few feet in front of my truck. If there was enough space to turn around, I would have met the jerk at the small airport in Dawson."
"I was at a truck stop in Ohio getting fuel. As I'm standing there on the driver side of the truck, watching the fuel gauge add up, this guy walks around the front of my truck and stops about ten feet from me by my driver side steer tire.
I look over at him and he is standing there very still, silently and not blinking. 'Can I help you?' I said. No response. 'What is wrong with you?' Still no response.
At this time my hand went to the knife I had clipped on my left pocket just in case. 'WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?' I yelled. He finally responds calmly and in a melancholic tone with: 'Oh nothing, just wanted to hear your voice.' Then turns away slowly and walks away.
I didn't sleep well that night."
"So one winter night, I was in mid-state Pennsylvania somewhere delivering to my last stop for the day - The Dollar Store. I knew I was out of hours and would have to spend the night in their parking lot, which they had no problem with. I was unloading my truck with the help of one of their employees, who happened to be a very attractive young lady around my age. (Mind you I was 22 at the time, her 21).
Knowing I was spending the night in the area, I figured I would grab a few drinks somewhere after we were done unloading. I hated just finishing my work and going straight to bed. So I asked the young lady, we'll call her Sarah if she knew any good bars in the area. We talked about it for a little bit and she told me about a couple of good bars to check out.
After we get finished unloading the trailer, and I close up the doors I proceed to the manager of the store to get their signature and to thank them for their help. We were talking for a short while, and she says, 'I hear you and Sarah are going out to get some drinks?' Well, this came as a surprise to me, as I had not even thought I was advancing on the girl. I thought it was against policy. I got my signature and headed back to the truck. Sarah comes chasing after me and says, 'You're not leaving without me are you?' She tells me she gets off shift in 20 minutes and that she wanted to come with me to the bar up the road.
Long story short, we go out to a couple bars, play some pool and we end up back in my truck, playing strip poker. We play pelvic pinochle, and she sleeps in the cab for the night. The next morning I wake up and she's gone, her car is gone and I never hear from Sarah again."
"I was in a car accident on my way to college. My grandparents drove me since my parents were working, and I had way too much stuff to take on a plane. We were driving on I-80 in Pennsylvania. I was asleep in the back seat, so I'm not exactly sure what happened. We think my grandmother had a minor stroke while driving. In any case, we swerved off the road, rolled over a few times, and smashed up the car (and ourselves) pretty good. Thankfully, no other cars were involved.
I have always wanted to say thank you to the truckers who helped us that day. There were three guys from three different trucks who ran over to assist. One gave my grandfather a handkerchief to staunch the bleeding on his face. Another sat next to my trapped grandmother and held her hand until help arrived. Another guy hung out close to me as I sat in the grass in a daze, staring at my messed-up knee. I remember that the two of us watched all of my earthly possessions as they rolled and scattered on the highway. Anyway, my grandparents and I went to the hospital and now we're all a-ok.
The best thing those truckers did? Those dudes picked up ALL of my colored pencils from the road. All of them. They were all scratched up and had road grit in them, but those guys took the time to give me back a part of my life. Unbelievable guys. I will always have complete respect for them."
"Trucking. It's routine. The same task, the same chair, the same wheel, the same job. But if you pay attention, it can be an adventure every day.
I've seen a lot of fire. I've personally saved people just from calling 911. The craziest was one time when I was almost home. The sun was just barely down, and I saw a truck headed the other way with something bright. There was a constant line of sparks, four-feet high, flying from his back right tire (his right). I'd never seen so many sparks as if he was doing it on purpose. As he passed me, I could see that the sparks were now a solid wall of fire, several hundred feet long and about three feet high. I called 911 that second and told them to hurry because that fire had a head start. Figured I might have saved the firefighters a few seconds before the next call would have been in and hoped it had made the difference. Saw it three days later - they got there in time before it reached away from the highway.
I've driven into storms that convince me I'm about to die. I mean like walls of a storm. It took less than a minute to go from clear to 'I can't see, I really can't see and I'm going 70 with a full load. In all likelihood, I am about to either smash into a stopped car or manage to stop in time and get wrecked from behind.'
I've had to dodge other cars. Sometimes people make mistakes, or get enraged, or maybe take illegal substances, but I've had cars both unintentionally and intentionally try to hit me on the highway. You want an adrenaline rush, experience that. When you're driving a truck, you're controlling something so powerful that you hold the lives of everyone around you. Can you imagine a 26,000-pound truck hitting a car? I'm sure I've saved people's lives by keeping track of the big picture and dodging other cars in HEAVY traffic. Still scars me thinking about those times when I've been a fraction of a second from a national-news worthy wreck.
One homeless man chasing another in a dead sprint.
I Once found a rolled car on the highway at 3 a.m. A few people were there standing around it, and I asked them what was going on and offered my help. They said they had no clue, they had just seen the car blocking one lane and pulled over. The worst part was that we didn't see anyone associated with the car. We wanted to believe that they had fled the scene, but we were afraid that they might have been flung a couple hundred feet away somewhere out in the tall grass where we couldn't see. Never found out about that one.
I occasionally pick up hitchhikers. Do you want to have an interesting day? Find a hitchhiker. I usually do it when it's cold out, and I've got enough room to pull over safely within a quarter mile of the guy. Some are on an adventure, like Jade. He said he was just traveling to experience life, man. We talked for two hours straight about life and about who we were and what we wanted. He said he was going to Mexico for some hippie commune where everyone's naked and you just use illegal substances and love on each other. Some are on a mission, like my most recent rider. I can't remember his name, but he was headed to Houston, Texas, to pick up a disability check. He seemed smart and hard-working. He was trying to help me with stuff our whole trip. But some of these guys, as you've heard, are crazy. I met one guy who seemed to have a half-dozen mental disorder and I started to fear for my life. This guy told me I wouldn't believe him, but he was the leader of a secret Arian group that has 20 leaders that all E.S.P. to each other. He would try to explain by telling me to look at the next sign on the road, and then say: 'Mmm, yeah, you see? No? The next one, the next one you'll see!' I thought he really might try to kill me, and I admit I was afraid. I can't try to fight somebody while I'm driving a truck on the highway."
Most meaningful and memorable:
Sometimes it's the small stuff that you remember the most, like when a beautiful song comes on while you're driving into the most beautiful sunset you've seen in weeks. Or when you see a board on the road and you line up your tire to run over the edge of it and successfully flick it 15 feet off the road. One of my favorite memories is just trying to watch 'Monsters Inc.' on the 10-inch monitor in the suburban next to me for a few minutes. But I do have a few more notable memories.
I've driven in the hill country a couple times, where I get to see beautiful fog. It builds up in the valleys, and it's like a dream. The fog, much more than the storms can be actual walls. It's cool to go from clear day to 50-foot vision in about one second, and then instantly back to clear a few seconds later.
I've had a guy on a motorcycle next to me practicing his wheelie for two minutes! Talk about nerve-racking. Really cool to watch though.
Perhaps the most memorable experience I had was joining a caravan that was speeding for like an hour. If you've never done this, you always join up at the back and watch for the trade time. Usually around 10 to 15 miles. Then the front guy will drop back and the next person will lead for that same amount of time. Everyone takes an even time of leading, and everyone is less likely to get pulled over.
I'm sure there's more, but I've said too much. There's just too much to tell."
"I was driving north through the mountains of Colorado towards Pueblo, and it was my first time dealing with anything like the Rocky Mountains, so I was taking it nice and slow with my hazards on and in the right lane. This was in the spring, and there wasn't much snow on the ground aside from a light dusting.
I remember passing another truck pulled to the shoulder on my way up, nothing out of the ordinary. However, as I was heading down the mountain (which can be scary as heck in an 18-wheeler, trust me) I saw the same truck I passed earlier, FLY by me in the left-hand lane. Now being passed on the left going DOWNHILL in the ROCKY MOUNTAINS by another TRACTOR TRAILER is crazy enough, but what really makes this story is this guy's trailer brakes were on fire. He was pulling a load (could tell because the trailer was sealed) and if you know anything about trucks you know there's only so much braking you're supposed to do before they overheat and, worst-case, catch fire.
This guy's truck looked like a comet as he sped down the mountain at what I thought was sure to be deadly pace.
I grabbed the mic to the radio and called out to him: 'Hey Driver! Your brakes are on fire! I mean literally on fire!'
This rough and weathered sounding voice comes back over the speaker of my radio and says, cool as a cucumber: 'I know.'
And he disappeared around a curve.
I never saw any wrecked truck, emergency crews, or even mention of an accident over the radio.
I did see a discarded fire extinguisher on the ground at the base of the mountain though.
Just one of many awesome stories."