Monday, March 26, 2012

Over the road - musings of a trucker's wife

Last week I had the opportunity to travel with my husband in his semi. We went over 5000 miles in nine days, traveling through 13 states. I learned a lot about life on the road for truckers. Here are a few of my thoughts:

It's almost impossible to meet the demands of brokers and companies and still follow all the laws for truckers. I was glad that my husband was able to drive legally. We stopped early enough each night so that he could get enough rest, and we were given enough time to drive within the speed limit to each destination.

I do not ever want to go to California in a semi again. Why? Because the speed limit for cars is 70 but the speed limit for trucks is only 55. Their signage along the roads is terrible - hard to read because they're small and have black letters on white background, and the message on them was not very clear.  They didn't really help us find our way. Finally, the price of diesel is higher there than any other state we drove through. We paid $4.55 per gallon!

Truckers could teach physics.While driving through the mountains I learned that 1) what goes up must come down. 2) Mass affects momentum. 3) An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest. 4) Since we were pulling a tanker with liquid inside I also learned about wave movement. The truck might stop but the liquid kept on going. And my husband told me about how the thickness of the liquid affects the amount of movement for the load. We were hauling a liquid that was like water, so there were a  lot of jerks as the liquid sloshed back and forth, but when he hauls things like molasses there are fewer jerks.

Truckers could also teach about economics. Time is money. So stops are few and short. We planned our stops so we could do several things at the same stop (eat, fuel up, shower, etc.) My husband told me about how to drive to save on fuel. He also knew where to stop where fuel was less expensive, and took advantage of truck stops that offered free shower coupons if you bought fuel. Some truckers are paid by the mile, but we are paid by the load. So we appreciated it when our dispatcher found us loads close to where we unloaded. Empty miles don't pay- they actually cost us money (fuel, wear on the truck, time).

Last thought for today - and probably the most important- God has given my husband special gifts to be a good trucker. It is what he was made to do.He has good eyesight for distance. That's very important when trucking. It allows him to see farther up the road which gives him more time to react to situations. It also helps him when trying to read road signs. God also gave him a good sense of direction. He can usually find his way. God gave him the ability to drive that huge truck easily. He knows what he is doing. He knows what his gauges are telling him, he listens to the motor and knows if anything is going wrong, he is fantastic at backing up that long trailer and hitting the mark on the first try - without really thinking about what he's doing. (When I try to back up even our little boat trailer I have to concentrate so hard and think, "Now, which way do I have to turn the wheel to make it go the right way?") He knows how to gear down when going up the steep mountain passes with 6% grades, and knows how to hold back the truck when going down the other side so the truck doesn't go too fast or burn up the brakes. And finally, he is comfortable being by himself for long periods of time but he is also able to talk easily to people he has just met.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Love this post, trucking is much more complicated than just driving!