Friday, October 21, 2011

What a day...

Today was a very difficult day.  We initially started with six drivers and now we are down to four in boot camp.  The first person left earlier in the week and today the second person was sent home for not driving up to standards.  It’s kind of like being on survivor; you hope that you don’t get sent home.  Both Randy and I were distraught by what happened this morning and after that we did not drive well at all.  It was one of the worst driving days we have had.  We did not do anything bad or anything, it’s just that we did not drive well.  Tomorrow is our last day in boot camp with only two skill tests left, and I’m hoping it goes better.  After tomorrow we will have about 7,500 miles to really learn how to drive.  We will be sent out with our trainers to finish our training and perfect our abilities.  There is so much more to it than I thought there would be and it is not easy.  If it was just driving, then it would be cake, but it’s all the other stuff that I will be responsible for.  For example…if a car runs a red light and T-bones me (the truck), I will still be charged because it’s my responsibility to prevent this collision from happening.  I am accountable for searching and scanning all potential hazards.  The other driver will get a ticket, but I will be charged with a preventable accident.  Is this crazy or what?
ATTENTION:  ALL CAR/SUV drivers…please keep in mind that most tractor trailers when loaded weigh close to 80,000 lbs. and are unable to STOP fast.  In perfect conditions, going 55mph it will take about a length and a half of a football field to come to a stop.  Now add rain, ice, snow, or higher speed and it is almost impossible to stop in time.  Our only chance and yours is to avoid an accident all together by being prepared.  Also, please keep in mind that most tractor trailers need a lot more room when making turns.  Their only option is to borrow some of your lane.  Please be kind, as the streets were not designed for big vehicles and give them space.  When you see a tractor trailer, the best thing to do is to stay out of their way and NOT try to beat them by getting in front of them or close to either side.  However, if you have to pass a tractor trailer, always pass on the left as the right side is the driver’s blind side and he/she cannot see you.
OK, enough of me whining like a baby…there are lots and lots of drivers who have driven for many years without accidents and who have had successful careers in trucking.  Today one of the instructors gave us some advice and I can’t stop thinking about it.  I think that this advice can be applied to anything in life.  The instructor said that I should attempt to be a better driver than Randy, and Randy should try being a better driver than me.  I also should try being the best driver over everyone else and the same goes for Randy.  This is how we can push ourselves to the next level of driving safely.  This process should never stop.