Ignorance, Stupidity, and Dumb Luck

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by TheDude1969, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. TheDude1969

    TheDude1969 Heavy Load Member

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    Joliet, Il
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    I ran across a flatbedder leaning badly to the driver side Friday, his load had not shifted... so I was thinking blown air bag on the tractor. We chatted on the CB and I followed him to the next TS. It was a simple duct tape fix of a broken leveling valve adjuster. But it did bring back a story of my own, of how horribly wrong things can go.

    I had 1yr experience with my CDL and purchased an older '91 Mack, pulling a TransCraft trailer. The truck always leaned, and I tried to fix it, but I gave up too easily and just accepted it. (Can you smell the ignorance?) I was a confident automotive, and locomotive mechanic, I couldn't see the consequences of a 2"-4" lean when every possible cause looked in good working condition. So I ran it the way it was.

    My ignorance quickly turned into stupidity, once I recognized the symptoms and ignored the problem. I made a downward angle right turn, with 48,000lbs of suicide loaded railroad wheels/axles on my back. My truck came to a screeching stop and turned me a bit sideways. WTF? Nothing happened to the load, but my truck had major damage. the tractor's right frame rail, got caught inside the left frame rail of the trailer and punctured a hole. I was sitting with my head sitting against the drivers side glass at a horrible angle, and no way to go backward or forward with both right drives in the air.

    Another driver was able to help me disconnect the trailer, and pull the trailer to a parking spot. My bobtail was drivable, but not under a load due to the twisted frame. So I purchased a pin lock and left it for the night, drove back bobtail and grabbed one of my leaser’s tractors to complete the load.

    This all sounds like bad luck... where is the dumb luck in the title? The pin lock I purchased was the first I ever used. I drove my leassor's unfamiliar tractor and backed underneath without thought. I made it 5 miles down the interstate and reached for my ciggs, and seen the receipt for the pin lock. HOLY #### moment, I didn't remember to take it off! Look in the mirror and the trailer is still there. Now I gotta get this rig stopped and re-inspect the connection to the king-pin without separating while braking.

    Thank GOD, for giving me the common sense, and my father-in-law for my training. I turned on the hazards/4ways, and started downshifting with engine brake.... keeping that load tight to the fifth wheel. I was down to my lowest gear, creeping at 1-3mph and pulled on the parking brake WOW was that scary! It ended up that the pin lock broke into 5pcs and my pre-trip tug was good, but what a deadly mess it could have been.

    Take any number of lessons learned from this really bad trip, but the one I prefer most is the proper pre-trip, and tug test that saved me, and everyone that could have been in danger.

    Trucker safe, my friends.
     
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  3. Pintlehook

    Pintlehook Road Train Member

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    Live and learn, excellent advice. That could have been a lot worse!
     
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  4. free spirited1

    free spirited1 Heavy Load Member

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    Well glad your still here and in one piece driver. Over the years I have out if shear habit pretrip my truck n trailer pretty thoroughly and found trailers with cracked drums, flat tires, brake shoe hardware totally missing, underfloor support beam severely damaged, door hinges missing or badly cracked, leaky air hoses, broken air hose support springs, valve stems leaking, air bags leaking or blown, lights burnt out, and the list goes on and on...for me it's like a detective game, I'm looking. .lol...had a driver next to me ask me if I'd look at his truck..lol..thought he was kidding...so we'll I said oh hell why not...he asked me afterwards...find anything...I said you have a cracked brake drum, two lights out, one pin from at the brake pod to the slack adjuster missing, and your washer fluid bottle has nothing in it...lol...he said dang...well good thing we're parked here at the Petro after he took a look, said I'm gonna get er into the shop...he said you got time I take you to breakfast...dang!!
     
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  5. ZVar

    ZVar Road Train Member

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    Flint, MI
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    Also shows how useless those kingpin locks are.....
     
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  6. street beater

    street beater Road Train Member

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    Right! He shoulda felt the trailer drop to the ground right away. When i ran a s&r dock we pin locked everything. What a waste
     
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  7. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    Yukon, OK
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    Not all pin locks are useless. I think the one I use is called an Enforcer, issued from Swift. Haven't done it myself, but I watched a driver try to HAMMER into a trailer with an Enforcer installed at a terminal. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't get a tug test and kept hammering away until I pointed out to him there's a kingpin lock on it.

    I use a 13 gallon white garbage bag to wrap my Enforcer before installing it. That accomplishes two things. First, I never get 5th wheel grease on it. Second, that white bag blowing in the breeze under the trailer is a reminder to me and discouragement to thieves that a pin lock is installed.
     
  8. ZVar

    ZVar Road Train Member

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    Flint, MI
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    Yea that one's not too bad, I even have one as I did my first year at Swift Have you seen the one at (most) truck stops though? Crappy cheap aluminum. Funny thing is I used it for the first time this spring. I got a 5th wheel camper and put it on while I had it in my yard.
     
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  9. TheDude1969

    TheDude1969 Heavy Load Member

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    Joliet, Il
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    That's a great idea! I'm going to share that with the shipper we have now.
     
  10. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    Yeah, I hated dealing with drop and hooks at shippers that put kingpin locks on the trailers in the dock. They get covered in grease, what a mess.
     
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  11. ramblingman

    ramblingman Road Train Member

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    I have the enforcer kingpin lock also. I forgot to take it off one time. Pin jumped the fifth wheel. When i got the situation rectified and the lock off it didnt have a scratch on it.
     
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