Give Ps a chance

| January 03, 2006

“Don’t get mad when they cut in front of you,” Thayer says. “They’ll probably get back out again in a minute anyway.”

Vandenburg has seen the wrong attitude cause an accident. His friend was stranded for two days with mechanical trouble. “They finally got it fixed, and he made the delivery. But he hadn’t showered for a long while, and his dispatcher gave him another load right away.” He took the load, but Vandenburg heard him complaining on the CB. “I was right behind him. He was saying ‘I can’t take this stuff’ and ‘I don’t know how you guys can do it.’ While he was complaining – bang! He ran into the car in front of him.”

Vandenburg says his friend started out with the wrong attitude: one that causes accidents. “I told him he should have waited a couple of days before taking that load.”

Rouse prays for guidance, allowing the spirit of humility, patience and forgiveness to lead his truck, and he gives credit for his safety record to his spirituality and religion. “It helps me avoid a lot of mess,” he says.

“Follow the golden rule,” Thayer says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

To many seasoned, professional drivers, the golden rule leads to prayer. “It’s the same as ‘love thy neighbor,’” Rouse says. For him, prayer comes first.

“Before I even get started, prayer is the first thing. Then I get out my map, check my routes, plan my fuel stops and breaks, and do a good pre-trip inspection,” says Rouse.

It’s a belief common among truckers. The factors of accident-free driving – patience, getting along and doing one’s job well – are also religious virtues.

“I’ve been blessed to be accident free,” Vinson says. “The good Lord gives me sense to know what to do and what not to do.” Vinson prays daily, and with good reason. “I have a family at home,” he says. “I want to get back alive.”

Thoughts of his family help Vinson drive safely in other ways, too. “If you have a family, you don’t want a big truck coming up behind them and scaring them to death,” he says. “I’ve seen accidents from tailgating, what happens to the passengers,” he says.

Religious and spiritual devotion play a big role in Vandenburg’s driving, too. “I believe God is my pilot, and I’m the guy in the passenger seat,” he says.

Rouse agrees. “I’d say instead of allowing God to be your co-pilot, ask him to be the pilot. He guides you in the right direction.” This goes beyond the highway. “Think about others, take care of yourself, and no lot lizards,” Rouse says.

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