Speakout

Overdrive Staff | July 01, 2011

First aid prep can help in tornadoes

My prayers go out to victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado and others this spring. I empathize especially with truckers because of my own close call in the early 1970s. I was caught in the twister on Illinois’ section of Interstate 57 as I drove my GMC Astro south. My truck was equipped with a 318 Detroit pulling a dry van loaded with 73,280 pounds gross weight.

That afternoon, the sky turned pitch black, and the wind was so strong I could go only about 30 mph. Of five tornado tails I could see, one got bigger, black and closer. Buildings and storage bins were exploding in clouds of rain, dirt and mayhem. I saw a farm tractor and wagon flying among the debris. No matter how hard I pushed the pedal, the truck was still barely moving.

I went inside the Bobber Truck Stop with another driver right before the tornado hit the stop. We, along with motorists, huddled in a corner. A large grain elevator thwarted the storm’s path, but it left trucks leaned over one another like a stack of dominoes, trucks scooted as far as 20 feet, windows torn out. Luckily, no one was injured.

I think the damage and death tolls from severe weather are greater than in the past because urban sprawl and farm land put under concrete may have heightened the effects of bad weather.

Truckers should seriously consider taking a first aid course to help in weather emergencies. You might save your own or someone else’s family by doing so.

GORDON ALKIRE

Owner-operator leased to Landstar Ranger | Riley, Kan.


READERS RESPOND

“North America? How many inspections will be done in Mexico? Get ready for the influx of junk from south of the Border.”

— RICK SCOTT, commenting on an Overdriveonline.com story on CVSA’s June Roadcheck.



“Being a trucker took me to 40 states. I was a paid tourist. What other job lets you get paid to see the country?”

— Tri Area Driving School instructor Dale Covert told The Saginaw News (Flint, Mich.).



What truck maintenance job do you dread the most?

“All of it.”

VICTOR STOLIARCHUK

Los Angeles

Patterson Transportation



“Engine rebuild. It gets expensive.”