A Tale of Limitations & Weight Limits
I’d driven plenty of box trucks and straight trucks, but when my boss at the Van Line agency asked me to get behind the wheel of this big bad Freightliner with the cab-over I had to say no. I could probably get the thing out of the lot, but I just wasn’t comfortable with the idea of taking it out on the road. I may have been okay on the side streets but there was no way I was going to drive that beast down the Long Island Expressway.
My boss made it a point to tell me the truck didn’t have air brakes so I could legally operate it with my Class D license. But just because someone is legally allowed to drive this or that truck does not mean they should.
It should raise a few eyebrows that the driver of this tractor with the 53’ trailer had her CDL, because she clearly wasn’t aware of some very basic but critical ideas. She didn’t know how much her truck weighed. She didn’t know how heavy her load was. It seems she didn’t have the math skills to convert pounds to tons. Apparently she didn’t know the trailer’s height. And the kicker: she wasn’t comfortable with backing up.
In other words, she didn’t know much of anything except that this little bridge could get her to WalMart.
She barely got her tractor onto it before the whole thing collapsed.
Nobody’s perfect, we get that. Accidents do happen. But some accidents and incidents are entirely preventable. We simply need to pay attention – to our surroundings, yes, but also to our own abilities, and to the abilities of those we work with.
If you read the comments that follow the article you’ll see a common opinion: that CDL training is generally inadequate. Closer to home, how many of us have seen our fellow movers pack a dish pack or move an armoire in a way that invited disaster? How many of us have felt like we just don’t know what we’re doing but we have to get the job done?
I know I have.
Luckily, most of the time, things turned out okay. Most of the time. But I didn’t think it would turn out okay if I drove that beast of a truck.
I might have been fine out there behind the wheel of that Freightliner. But to this day I’m glad I decided to tell my boss no.
With a little training and practice maybe my answer the next time would have been a confident yes.