Before I begin, let me set the scene: I was traveling North on I-435 around Kansas City. There are three lanes of traffic, but there was an accident and the right two lanes were slow/blocked. I was in the left lane going through the accident scene.
As we all get past the accident and get back up to speed, people are of course flying around me. I turn on my blinker to move into the middle lane, but can’t as there is a vehicle right at my trailer. I should mention that the right lane is completely free at this time as well. As that vehicle gets up to my passenger door, this Ford Excursion shoots out from behind me like they are in a big hurry. Now keep in mind we have probably traveled at least a half a mile by this time. My blinker was on the whole time. Well, the vehicle behind the Ford actually slowed down and flashed their lights, letting me know they were going to let me over. However, this Ford is taking their own sweet time. As if there is nothing else going on, but them driving down the road.
They finally make it up to my passenger door and again are making NO progress in getting past me. My blinkers still blinking away. So I look over and the lady has a damn cell phone glued to her ear. I gave the air horn a little tug to get her attention and motioned my arm to move along. This is when it got interesting.
She sped up just enough to get by me, and I was able to move over. I see her move the phone to her right hand and I see her hit the breaks. She then sticks her arm out the window and flips me off. The passenger turned around and flipped me off too. All while she is still on the phone.
So, in her mind, I am an asshole because I gave a little tug on the air horn. Yet, I had 5 flashing lights signaling my intention for over a mile by the time she got around me. Had she been paying attention, she would have seen them flashing when I turned them on and just waited the 5 seconds it took that first vehicle to get by me so I could get over. But nope, we as a society are in such a damn hurry, screw everyone else.
Here’s the deal people; if you have to make a call or be on the phone, at least use a Bluetooth. If you aren’t capable of driving and talking at the same time, then don’t. You would be amazed at the number of people I see damn near cause accidents in a day because they have a cell phone plastered to their ear.
That being said, let me just get this out there as I know someone will try and give me shit. Do I talk and drive? Yes, but only during certain times, and always use my Bluetooth. For example, I don’t talk on the phone going through major cities, construction zones, or if I am in a city. Anyone reading this can even ask my wife. We have been on the phone many of times where I have cut her off mid sentence and said, “hey babe I’m in traffic or whatever the reason is, let me call you back.”
Ask yourself this question: What’s more important; the phone call or your life?
As a professional driver I drive for 5. You are always #1. Pretend the person in front of you (#2) is your wife, the person to your right (#3) is your mother, the person to your left (#4) is your father, and the person behind you (#5) is your sibling.
Let that soak in for a minute and then ask yourself if you would drive differently with that mindset. I personally can’t drive any other way. At any given time I have 43,000 lbs to 46,000 lbs of cargo on the deck of this trailer that could take out any one of the 5. I could have the load secured perfectly, but Murphy is always lurking out there and ANYTHING can happen.
We had a driver a couple years ago headed home for the weekend. He had a load of lumber on the deck and it was secured per regulation. He actually had more securement than was required. Anyway, he was about 5 miles from his exit and traffic was at a dead stop. He didn’t realize it as he had looked down at something on his seat. When he saw the traffic was stopped, he slammed on the breaks and locked them up. Guess what happened next? He was able to stop short of the car in front of him, but his load was still going 62 MPH. Meaning the front half of his load went right through the cab. Remember, he was on the phone with his wife. All she heard was an “Oh Shit” and the phone goes dead. She called TMC to ask if there were any accidents reported and they said that there was. She had no idea it was her husband but knew where he was. She puts the kids in the car and heads to the interstate, and she sees a TMC truck with lumber through the cab… Then she sees the truck number……. I’ll stop there as you can imagine what happened next.
Why am I even sharing this? Because someone you know cares about you and wants you to ARRIVE ALIVE! So, hang up and drive.