Truckers know the importance of road safety. We are professionally trained to avoid accidents. Everyone knows that infamous statistic: more people die in their automobiles than in an airplane. But, what makes the roads so dangerous? Innumerable things; and that is why we are trained for safety. We know we’re the guardian angels of transport – we get the goods where they need to go. Now it’s time to stand up proudly and accept our role as the guardian angels of the highways.
Bullwinkle’s Taking a Nap!
Depending on where you drive, highway hazards might be rush-hour traffic or large, unruly animals. Truck drivers have a keen sense and remain constantly aware of the dangers surrounding their rigs. Other drivers might not be so lucky. Historically, truckers have watched out for each other and warned other truckers of impending highway doom over the CB, but we also watch out for other drivers on the road.
A Canadian woman reported that she was driving home late at night on Ontario’s northern highways with her sleeping children. She was cruising comfortably along, when she noticed an oncoming big rig flashing its high/low beams at her. This caused her to take pause and slow down. As she navigated around a blind corner, lying halfway in her lane was a snoozing moose — not the best place to take a nap, but who’s going to argue with a 1,500 pound moose?!
Had she not heeded the truck driver’s warning, she’d have plowed right into the moose. The damage to her car would have been significant; the damage to her children and herself, worse. The truck driver knew she was driving too fast and warned her of impending doom. He or she was a true highway guardian angel.
Goodyear’s 2013 Highway Hero
Last week — March 25th to be exact — Goodyear announced Jason Harte as the 30th recipient of its North America Highway Hero Award. This award goes to a truck driver annually who proves to be a hero on the highway. Harte received this award for saving a family of six from their decimated mini-van after it was pushed off the highway by a speeding pickup. The family, who were trapped in the mini-van, consisted of the parents, a six-month old baby and three small children.
Harte pulled over and freed the family of six from the crushed mini-van. Harte used to be a paramedic before he started driving truck, and he relied on his emergency medical training to administer first aid to the victims until emergency crews and ambulances arrived on the scene. Without Harte, the family of six might not have survived, as injuries included broken bones and internal bleeding. This example of trucker heroics is far more dramatic than warning a woman about a 1,500 pound napping roadblock, but in both cases, had the trucker not been there, lives might have been lost.
Guardian Angel Preparedness
You don’t have to be a former paramedic to help accident victims on the road. In fact, because our lives are spent on the road, all truckers should learn CPR and basic first-aid. These skills, along with basic emergency supplies, will help you and others if you are faced with a roadside emergency. As a highway guardian angel, you want to make sure you’re prepared!
Make sure your rig is equipped with emergency supplies. This includes a portable fire extinguisher with a UL rating of at least 10B:C or more for hazardous materials transport, and 5B:C or more for other commercial trucking. You may also have two portable fire extinguishers on board of 4B:C or more. All fire extinguishers must contain fire-retardant chemicals that won’t freeze and comply with EPA standards.
Keep a first aid kit on board too. When thinking about what to carry in your kit, think OSHA standards, which are compliant with ANSI standards, which are compliant with … okay, enough legal mumbo-jumbo! Keep plenty of gauze pads and band-aids of various sizes and adhesive tape to secure them. Keep individually wrapped and sealed cleaning swabs or moist towelettes and a tube of anti-bacterial cream. Pack scissors, tweezers and a blanket. Make certain you have a resuscitation bag — and that you know how to use it! — and a splint and some elastic ties to secure it. Most importantly, keep latex gloves in your first aid kit to avoid exposure to blood or bodily fluid borne pathogens.
Guardian Angels Speak Loud and Proud!
Alright you truckers! You’ve got guardian angel stories; I know you do. You’ve been on the road and I’m certain you’ve helped someone by flashing a high/low-beam warning. Or, perhaps you’ve rescued a victim from mangled vehicle. Or, heck! You just had to stop and help that elderly person change his or her tire. It doesn’t matter what the story is, every single one of them is as important as the other. All of us are highway heroes, so tell us what you did to help someone while you were out guarding the roadways!
Leo Fung (Flickr)
Road hazards come in all shapes and sizes!