Have you ever broke down at the side of the road? It can be a daunting time especially if the weather is cold or you break down in a strange place. As professional truck drivers you will break down at some point in your career, it is just a matter of time. When these breakdowns happen they can be very costly and frightening for those involved, especially if it happens in the middle of the night or remote location. The bad part is that it happens to all of us. The good part is that you can be prepared.
We all hope that accidents don’t happen very often in transportation but they do. What happens more often and without warning is mechanical breakdowns and when they happen they can lead us into a crash which can be very scary. This recently happened to a friend of mine on his way to work. Things were going fine, he was getting on the highway for work like he always did and starting down the highway in his car. All of a sudden there was a loud bang, the front end of the car dropped about a foot, and the car went into a skid. Hanging on for dear life and trying to stay in control the best he could the car kept spinning out of control. He saw the cars from his side of the roadway as he spun out of control, then the vehicle went through the ditch to the other side of the road continuing in its spiral direction. As you can imagine my friend saw his life flash before his eyes as he held on for life. Hold and steer, hold and steer is all he could do and hope this wild ride would be over soon. It was similar to being on a bucking bronco for eight seconds that seemed like an eternity. Finally the car stopped on the opposite side of the road, on the shoulder, facing the wrong way to the direction of traffic. Still holding the wheel my friend tried to gather his thoughts as the dust settled around him. But was it over?
The actual event may have been over, but not the problem at hand of a breakdown. Thankfully my friend was okay, but now he had a car at the side of the road, facing the wrong way of a highway with a broken front end, and a wheel stuffed sideways under the car. That of course in addition to the fact he would now be late for work, is rightfully shaken up, and has little money in his bank account. So how did it end?
The Police showed up writing up a report for mechanical failure. The tow cost him his last three hundred dollars to go a kilometre off the highway. He scrapped the car because it wasn’t worth the cost of repair, and he had to borrow a car to finish out his week.
We can’t be prepared for everything, but there are some things you can do to ease the burden should an incident happen. First of course is to maintain your vehicle in good working order, that’s a no brainer! Second is to do regular inspections of your vehicle to hopefully catch potential problems before they present themselves, usually at times or places we don’t expect. The third thing is to be prepared for mechanical items to breakdown. Have a plan in place for having your vehicle towed such as CAA or AAA that can lower your costs should something happen. Make sure before leaving on any trip no matter how short that you have a fully charged cell phone in case of an emergency. Keep items like water, crackers, and a blanket in your vehicle should you breakdown for a long period of time. These things may not stop a breakdown but hopefully will ease the burden should something happen. Be safe and happy driving!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, consultant, podcast host, and speaker. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com