Struck by ‘Greased Lightning’
I was learning flatbed operations after 10 years on the road when my dispatcher told me to hook up with two other drivers in Amarillo, TX to pick up a load in Liberal, KS. “Greased Lightning” had been with the company two years; “Longrider” had just gotten his CDL and was on his way to his third load.
We agreed on a route, but as soon as we started, I knew we were in trouble. Greased Lightning was three miles ahead of me before I got out of the parking lot, and Longrider was following him like an eager puppy.
I managed to catch up, thanks to the traffic and lights in Dumas, but I was two miles behind when we hit Stratford. In Stratford, I got pulled over for speeding by a local cop who had been turning around to catch the other two.
While he was writing the ticket, the cop asked why the other two hadn’t warned me about him. I told him that one did not yet have a CB and the other had laryngitis. The cop laughed and made the ticket a warning.
I caught up to the two company drivers near Texhoma. Greased Lightning had made a panic stop without depressing his clutch, which locked up his automatic transmission and killed the motor. He got on his Qualcomm, and our dispatcher arranged for a tow truck.
Longrider and I walked back to our trucks, and we noticed one of his steering tires was flat. After replacing it, we went on to our pickup without incident…and without Greased Lightning.
Dear Road Knight,
It never fails. You get a couple of drivers together, you all care-
fully plan your route and then the hot-shoe in the group takes off like, well, “Greased Lightning” and screws everything up. I’ll say this for “Greased”— he picked an appropriate handle.
Here’s Rule No. 1,068 in “The Unabridged Guide to Murphy’s World”: “The guy driving the last truck in a speeding convoy gets the speeding ticket.” Why? Because he’s the easiest one for the cop to catch.
Of course, Ol’ Murphy has a knack for evening the score. Greased Lightning got his comeuppance when he panicked while making that panic stop. Serves him right.
Let this be a lesson to us all: There’s not always safety in numbers if one of the numbers is a couple of decimal points short of a whole.
Murphy and Lucky Dog