Have you almost killed someone while driving an 18 wheeler? What happened?
I've had a couple close calls. The one that really sticks in my head was one night maybe a year ago I was driving down I-20 in Texas, out by Longview. It was really dark, I came around a curve and thought for a second I was hallucinating...there was a woman dancing in the middle of the freeway! Alas, no, it was not a hallucination; there was, in fact, a woman sort of spinning in circles in the middle of the right lane of interstate highway 20. I saw her just in time to gracefully swerve out of the way and immediately called 911 to report her. Their response is what chilled me the most: I heard the dispatcher on the radio saying something about "that crazy lady is out dancing on the freeway again."
To head off any suggestions that I'm a jerk for not having stopped: situations such as this are often used as bait to get trucks to pull over so accomplices can steal the truck and/or rob or kill the driver. So while there's a good chance this was a legitimate person in need of psychiatric care, there's also a nonzero chance that this was a setup. Plus, I don't carry haldol or a straitjacket. I did search news sites for a few weeks afterwards and didn't see any mention of someone having been hit out there, so I'm pretty sure the nice men in the white suits got to her first.
At least once a week (and sometimes daily) I have to react and compensate for something stupid someone does around my truck. That's just a normal work day.
Back in 1990, I was picked to be the enabler of a ‘suicide by truck' incident. I was driving down a two lane road in the desert in Southern California one evening when an oncoming car came over into my lane. I swerved and steered onto the shoulder but he still struck the left side tandems on my trailer. He died on the way to the hospital. About two weeks later, I stopped by the CHP office that investigated the crash for a copy of the accident report for our insurance company. I was able to talk to the first officer that arrived at the scene that night and was responsible for the investigation. In the section for 'cause of accident' he noted, ‘driver of vehicle 1 lost control of vehicle , striking vehicle 2.' He told me in his investigation, he found that the driver was self employed and was loosing his business and going through a divorce at the same time. The officer said "I have a feeling you were a victim of a suicide, but I can't prove it."
I ran that route every week for two years after that and every time I passed by, I could see the gouge on the pavement at the point of impact and my skid marks as I brought the truck to a stop. Chilling.
I-90 between Chicago & Rockford Illinois is a toll road. My truck was equipped with EZ pass so I don't have to stop to pay tolls.
A car stopped on the left shoulder immediately before the ramp to the toll booth. I'm in the center lane, travelling at the posted speed limit (+ or - 3 moh).
Mr.4 wheeler decides to cut across all lanes of traffic to pay the toll. DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME!. I had a single 48,000 steel coil on as my load. Maxxed out at 80,000 lbs. I punched the brakes & swerved left to miss him. Lost sight of the car as it passed in front of me. I had to miss him by only inches.. another driver got on the CB & said "skateboard, I saw daylight under the trailer axles!"
So, yeah...almost smooshed some dumbass & almost rolled the truck missing him...I stopped at the next ramp & pried my fingers off the wheel & removed 10 lbs of seat cushion from my puckered ass.
But there were no scratches on my bumper, nor on Mr. Dumbass's 4 wheeler...we both lived another day.
T-boning a 4 wheeler at 65 mph or rolling a truck with a big coil on...neither end pretty!
Just another day at work...btw, I'm no longer a TOSH. (trashy old steel hauler) I'm now a door slammer, pulling a dry box.