June 1 was not a good day. After delivering my vehicles I made my way over to Dundalk, lower back muscle spasms and all to load a 10 car load of Beamers and Coopers. I've done 2/10 car loads in the last year and was a little out of my routine. I have a day cab with a 4 car headrack and a High Rail trailer.
After loading was completed, I asked another driver to refresh my memory on getting my height down with the 3 Coopers stacked on the tractor and the BMW behind the cab. He spent a little time with me until I was confident that I had it figured out.
My back spasms were starting to get the best of me and I was thinking hard about the hotel. I walked around my truck 2 times to do my final departure check. Got about 70 miles down the road at a rest area where I stop to do my safety check. I could not believe what I found.
Somehow I totally forgot the rear pins on deck 3.
The deck bled down and badly dented the hood and both fenders of the BMW behind the cab.
It also slightly got into the hood of the front car in the belly. No words can describe what I was feeling as I stared in disbelief.
I completed my first year at this company with no damages and a nice safety bonus. It's been a long time since I've had any damages worth mentioning.
I fly airplanes sometimes and we use what is called PAVE which stands for
Pilot, Aircraft, Environment, External Pressure.
Anyway I thought I would post my experience. Maybe someone can learn from my mistake.
- A pilot must continually make decisions about competency, condition of health, mental and emotional state, level of fatigue, and many other variables. For example, a pilot may be called early in the morning to make a long flight. If a pilot has had only a few hours of sleep and is concerned that the sinus congestion being experienced could be the onset of a cold, it would be prudent to consider if the flight could be accomplished safely. The same should apply to loading an auto transport and then driving.
- What I should have done was made the decision that I needed the day off to rest and could return the following day but I am a typical truck driver who tries to be the tough guy. My failure to access my fitness for loading and driving cost me my safety bonus and lots of grief.
- I was worried about losing my job but instead my company told me that it happens to the best of us. It just doesn't usually happen to me. They told me to learn from it and move on. They also told me that if ever I feel like I was not in an ideal condition for loading that I should take the day off. Better that a load be late than severely damaged.
No matter how good you are and no matter how long you've been doing it,
IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.
It Can Happen To You
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Yes I'm better. All the years out here are catching up I think. I have at least one completely deteriorated disc all the way at the bottom.
I still get around pretty good but I'm not 21 anymore. I'm a little bent in the morning.
Sorry to see and hear about your cargo damage and your back spasms. I suffered through the same symptoms during my car hauling days only to realize I had four herniated discs in my lower back. I woke up every morning in the hotel fighting just to be able to stand up straight so I started iceing down my lower back every night with ice packs from the hotel ice machine. 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Repeat 2 to 3 times. You should get in to see the doctor as soon as you can and get an MRI on your back and start Physical Therapy now before the soft tissue wears out around that disc. And don't let them send you for an X-ray as they do not show soft tissue damage. Good luck to you and much props to you for talking about the cargo damage and being totally honest about it.
Welcome to the club. The horrible feeling after a damage goes away after awhile but it still drives you nuts. 'What was I thinking?'
When I was getting my stripes in '79 the convict looking lunatic that taught me how to haul cars drilled it in my head before G.O.A.L. His was G.Y.F.A.O.A.L. screamed like a Marine drill sergeant. I made the mistake of asking him how much room I had on the passenger side while backing a Dodge Ram out of the bottom of an 8' wide trailer, snow covered and parked on the side of a crowned road. I can still see him screaming the phrase with a tie down bar in hand that I was sure was coming thru the window and into my head. He made his point.
My son is a pilot and your pilot analogy is very accurate. One good recorded book from Audible is 'Why Planes Crash' and in print
'The Killing Zone, Second Edition: How & Why Pilots Die'. Both make the point that arrogance and complacency have a cost.
You learned your lesson, commendations for posting it.
First I hope that your back is better, if it weren't for my chiropractor I probably wouldn't still be working.
Second thanks for reminding us that none of us are perfect. God knows we want to be, but I know I am a long way from it. I am sure you are a good carhauler and no matter how good you are stuff does happen. Since you probably will be tougher on yourself than your company will be, let it go. You don't want this to take away your confidence as a good carhauler because in my opinion you have to be confident to do this job well.
Hope your feeling better MB, but yes, can happen to any of us, not so much health related, well maybe mental health but along the same lines, my office has strict instructions that when I am on the road to handle all calls best they can unless its an emergency, much like your psychical pain, I tend to keep rerunning problems in my head and it becomes VERY easy to "forget" or get out of your routine!
Not trying to sound like a dikc but I always try and think that it's not the end of the world and someone always has it worse than me. Glad to hear that Moore isn't going to give up on you. That's a good sign that you're not only a good carhauler but have the character to make them want to stick with you.
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