July 16th, 2005


Almost swatted by a semi

I shouldn't have posted anything in reply to sideband's entry of a couple of days ago about driving around big trucks. I had a much closer encounter with a semi yesterday than I really care to.

I was driving up US 169 to the Cities, along my usual route. As you enter Saint Peter from the south, the speed limit on 169 drops rather suddenly from 65 to 35. This drop is well known, if not particularly well marked, and the Saint Peter police often sit right there and hand out tickets. Not yesterday, though, doggone it.

I was just past the change in limit, doing 35 and watching the upcoming traffic light, when I glanced in my rearview mirror to see a truck getting bigger, fast. He swerved at the last moment to avoid hitting me, and then swerved back into my lane to avoid hitting a minivan in front of me. He didn't slow down much until two traffic lights later, and that only because he had to stop for that one - and barely made it. I stopped behind him, got out of the car, and looked at him in his rearview mirror, making nasty comments about his driving skills or lack thereof. The minivan driver pulled up beside me and had some rather derogatory comments to make as well.

I pulled up alongside him and got the name of the company on the door. A $1.25 call to information later, and I was connected with the trucking company. I wound up talking to their recruiting manager. I told him the story. He asked, "Do you have a tractor number?" "I'm right next to him...the door says <company name>, and there's <number> on the fender." He said that he was gonna call the guy right after he got done with me and "get him out of there". The truck took the next highway exit after we hung up; I wouldn't be surprised if the manager called the guy up and said "Pull over and park the truck. We're sending someone to relieve you. You're fired." Personally, I think that would be highly appropriate.

I know that the majority of truckers are serious, responsible professionals concerned about doing their job safely and courteously. I also know that most accidents involving trucks are caused by idiots in cars. Even so, as with any group, there are some that don't live up to the group's standards. I think I met one yesterday.
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