It's every drivers worst nightmare - making a mistake, while you're hauling a load. It's even worse as a rooky, but it happens to everyone. Read below for some of the worst rooky mistakes drivers have made while working as professional drivers:
I was helping out a Wal-Mart dedicated account running reefer loads. Had to do a back haul of frozen vegies after my last Wal-Mart store. Long story short, I shut off the reefer after the last Wal-Mart and never turned it back on until I got to the DC guard shack with a trailer full of once frozen vegies. Boss was not very happy with me.
Went up a steep grade in Fairbanks Alaska and didn’t chain up based on my bosses advice. I lost traction and slide backwards for about a 1/2 mile and almost slide off a 200ft cliff into the Tannana River.
I learned a rough lesson about the difference between an experienced professional and a FNG who isn't yet qualified to act on the advice of the professional.
I fueled up at flying J in Saskatoon with a set of super B's . There where two entrances to the truck stop and I went around to the far entrance when I was leaving like I had always done, found out that they had closed that entrance with a pile of dirt. Normally it wouldn't be a problem but it was 3 in the morning and the lot was packed with no room to turn around with a set of super B's. I had to split them and back each out individually, then re-hook. Went in to the truck stop for a drink and mentioned to the attendant that they should put up a sign, he said yeah your the 3rd person this week who had to do the same thing. It took every fibre of my being not too explode.
When I started with Swift, I was still teaching myself blind side backing.
Pulled up to a dock, blind sided in, felt a bump. I ran over a trailer jack stand.
A guy loaded fish in a reefer for a 4,300 km trip from Broome to Adelaide and he set the temperature at +27 instead of -27, so it was on heating for the whole trip, how he didn't notice we will never know. The whole load had to go to the tip.
Parked overnight in an empty area at a cons. Wake up surrounded by trailers on either side. Pull out, start turning and everything starts violently shaking and slowing down. Driver in a truck directly across from me starts laughing.
Oh my, I'm hitting the trailer next to me on my blind. I'm dead. This is it. Game over. Hang the noose now. I back into the same spot to assess the damage.
Nothing. No scratches on either trailer. No evidence of any damage. What the hell?
I talk to the driver across from me. Ask him if I hit that trailer. He tells me he doesn't think I hit it. Says it sounded like the trailer brakes were still set. I tell him that doesn't make sense, I was able to pull straight out of the spot without resistance. I don't set the trailer brakes anyway.
Another driver comes over when I get back to my truck. He explains how to exit without hitting the trailer. Yes, thank you, I know. I ask him if I hit the trailer. He just smiles and says "dude, no one is paying any attention. Just leave." Well that's not reassuring.
The only thing I can think of is my hand accidentally pulling down on the trolley valve as I was turning and locking the trailer brakes. Yard jockey was putzing back and forth the entire time and never even looked my way, I'm sure he heard the noise.
About a month in I was in this backwoods area in Michigans upper peninsula, delivering steel to a manufacturing plant that had just recently been built. When they built the plant, they also built new roads to accommodate the plant, and the old roads were pretty much two tracks. This was all recent enough that none of it showed up on google maps.
It's Sunday night, I'm delivering Monday morning. No answer at the contact number for the cons. I can see the plant, but I can't see a way into the facility. I'm following the fence line when the road turns into a one lane dirt track. I panic and try to pull a U turn instead of backing the mile or so down the road I had just come up. I get completely stuck.
Instead of calling breakdown I call a tow company myself and foot the bill.
The worst part is that the turn I actually needed to get into the plants entrance was just another 100 yards ahead.
Picked up a load in Chicago. Getting in was incredibly stressful, but I did it. Backing into the dock was incredibly stressful, but I did it. Getting out however, not so successful. I couldn't go the way I had planned on since people don't know how to park thus making the turn impossible for me. Resorted to Plan B which involved Lake St. If you're not familiar with Chicago, Lake St. is one of the roads that the elevated train runs above. This plan would have worked fine if not for the construction taking up most of the street. I moved over to the right to avoid the cones, but I guess I went too far and quickly found out that while the center of the lane was above 13'6, the side definitely was not. Ripped a big hole in the top of the trailer.
What about you, drivers? What's the worst mistake you've made as a rooky driver?