Driver-turned-action-movie hero pulls off truck stunt
Twenty years ago, I landed my first OTR job with an owner-operator. I was really excited to be going on my first solo trip to the Northeast, and my first stop was in Philadelphia. I went to my boss’ house in South Carolina to pick up the truck, where it was a balmy 65 degrees in the middle of January. I picked up the loaded trailer and was on my way to the City of Brotherly Love.
Nearing my destination, I noticed a meat packing plant and stopped to be sure my directions were OK. Coming out of the plant, I noticed my truck rolling down the street. My first reaction was that it had been stolen, but then I realized I was now in a freezing environment, and I knew immediately what had probably happened.
I managed to catch up with it, but as I opened the door, the truck hit a pothole and I was knocked off the step. I resumed my pursuit and managed to get back in the cab and stop the truck before any damage was done.
What caused my problem? Well, when I made that stop at the meat packing plant, I only applied the trailer brakes before leaving the truck. One thing I forgot to do was to drain the air tanks. I learned my lesson that day, and now draining air tanks is an everyday event for me—especially if I will be in any freezing temperatures.
Why is it that the craziest things always seem to happen to drivers on their maiden voyage? After reading your letter, I think I finally have the answer: Crazy things tend to happen to inexperienced drivers because inexperienced drivers tend to do crazy things.
Running after a runaway truck, leaping into the cab and stopping it before it crashes into anything reads like a script from an old action movie. It’s also a good way to get yourself killed. Unless the truck is rolling toward another human being, I suggest you leave such stunts to the real professionals when it comes to this line of work—movie stuntmen.
Fortunately, you pulled off your stunt without any damage to you or the truck and learned several valuable lessons in the process. Twenty years in the business tells me you learned them well. Take care, and keep checking those brakes and tanks.
Murphy and Lucky Dog