I’m not a driver, but I play one on TV. Ha ha, joking – we all know I couldn’t drive my way out of a paper bag, but I ride, and I watch and listen and take copious notes (which I immediately lose). I’ve spent enough time out with a real driver to compile a list of things that make life a little harder out here. Lord knows, things don’t need to be any harder on the road, and the few things I’ve noticed that do make it worse could be easily remedied.
The first thing I don’t understand are drivers who park at a busy fuel island and take three days of home time. They park and disappear, like there aren’t seventeen other trucks in line behind them. I get that it sometimes takes a few minutes at the desk to sort out ComData checks, and get fuel vouchers released, but taking forty-five minutes is a bit much. Most people would realize it’s going to be longer than usual, excuse themselves, and go outside to pull through. That’s the decent thing to do.
Time and again, we sit and wait behind people who, I swear, go in and take a shower, eat lunch and make a lengthy phone call to home before realizing they’re holding up the line and keeping other drivers from making money. Then they stroll out, wash their windows and shoot dirty looks at anyone who dares act impatient with them. These are the same jerks who park in handicap spaces (without a placard) when they’re driving private vehicles and act stupid when someone calls them out on it. Seriously, have a little consideration for your fellow professionals and act like one.
I know I go on and on about the toilet situation, but a filthy bathroom can ruin your whole day. People who aren’t on the road take for granted that they have the option to relieve themselves anywhere they choose (except the Walmart parking lot – I hear they frown on that). If your own toilet is clogged or too gross to use, you can always hop in the car and run to the 7-Eleven, or any other place that has a public restroom. Truckers are very limited in where they can drive and park, thus limited in their choice of bathrooms.
Truck stops know this, and because they know this, they should hold themselves to a higher standard. Seems to me if my most profitable client had a need, I would bend over backwards to meet it. Most places do realize this, and really do a good job keeping things in order and non-vermin infested. However, there are more than a few places that allow biological hazards to overflow. It’s usually when there isn’t anywhere else around for miles, because they know you don’t have a choice. I think you all know me well enough by now to hear the ‘screw you’ I have for these places.
Working in a truck stop can’t be an easy job. As a matter of fact, nothing that involves trucking is easy. I understand this, I really do, but please don’t take your hatred for your job out on me and my trucker. We’re decent, polite people, and will treat you the same way you treat us. I think this goes for at least 85% of professional drivers out there. Nothing is worse than walking in, saying, ‘Hey there!’, and being completely ignored. The drivers who spend three weeks of the month on the road get ignored enough. It’s not hard to fake a smile and nod your head, at least acknowledge these people and remember, without them, you wouldn’t have a job at all.
Be safe, be kind and be courteous. Pretty simple stuff you should have learned in kindergarten. Everyone has a bad day now and then, even my sparkling personality fades after six or seven thousand miles (I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true). My Granddad told me once, “If you feed your chickens s***, your eggs will taste the same.” Words to live by.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.