We were on Interstate-80 in Iowa and saw the backup before we crested the hill. That's when Ed turned the CB on (we never keep it on) to see what was happening. Something about a truck in the ditch, jokes about which company the driver worked for, which lane was open to get around it, and how long it was going to be before someone got out there to clean it up.
As we got closer, we saw a vehicle on its side. The truck was in the ditch on the right.
It was a pickup truck pulling an RV. Looked like a new RV, and that he was with one of those companies that delivered them. The pickup was upright as you can see, but the area where it hooked together was twisted, and the RV was on the side, with the bottom ripped off.
My first comment was, "No doubt he was speeding." People with RVs, whether they're driving them or delivering them, typically drive like mad. You'll sometimes seem them weaving and wiggling as they change lanes, and they also tailgate. They have no idea that they're not just driving their vehicle, they're pulling something behind it.
As we came around the overturned RV, there were these two smacked up cars. I'd say they were probably speeding also. Or weaving through traffic. Or texting. Or plain 'ol not paying attention. Did I mention it was raining torrentially on and off? We see this all the time, these people who are annoyed by slow-moving trucks, or are just in a big hurry - in the middle of nowhere Iowa?? - to go who knows where. People who cut in front of you from two lanes over to get off an exit.
And what gets me, is that the driver of the truck winds up in a ditch. He's probably there because he did what any good truck driver would do - anything in their power to avoid slamming into three passenger vehicles. He probably had nowhere to go and had to ditch it.
What sucks about trucks getting in accidents with passenger vehicles - which contain people who are almost always out for a joy ride, or going to the store, or coming home from work, or taking their kids to the movies - is that when they get in an accident, the driver of the passenger car rarely has to worry about losing their jobs.
No matter what we do, especially now with the CSA in place, even when something isn't our fault, our livelihoods are in jeopardy. And even when someone does the right thing, like veering to avoid a horrific accident, they often still face repercussions from their employer and others.
Granted, it may have been his fault, but statistics provided by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report something all of us truck drivers already know...
When there's a collision between a big truck and a passenger vehicle, it's almost always the fault of the passenger vehicle.
So while most people in the country are loving summer and the road trips that come with it, we live in a constant state of heightened awareness - more than usual - because there are so many more non-professional drivers on the road.
I'm counting the days until summer is over, kids are back in school, and the traffic is relegated to the morning and evening rush hours.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Tough Choice: Scale Mountains Or Flip Channels
2011: Eyes On The Road
2010: When You Own, You Owe
2009: It’s Not The Nina, Pinta And Santa Maria
2008: One Word At A Time
2007: The Only Way It Could Have Been Better Would Be If It Came With A Side Of Fried Rice
2006: Wanna Sip Of My Jagermeister?
2005: Playing Favorites