Steve Duffer III died on I-79 in West Virginia, just north of Meadowdale. A homemade memorial dedicated to his memory is perched on the hill beside the highway. It’s legible even from a passing trucker’s vantage point.
Each time I drive by the memorial, I quickly read the name and return my eyes to the road. For some reason I can’t recall much else about the memorial besides the dedication. I think it’s a white wooden cross that’s been hammered into the ground.
Research on Mr. Duffer’s death reveals a tragedy. He died in February 2007 when his southbound red Nissan Frontier pickup crossed the meridian on Jennings Randolph Expressway (what I-79 is named in West Virginia) and hit a tractor trailer.
The 2001 Mack tractor trailer in the northbound lanes was running out of Hickory, North Carolina – where I have picked up and delivered numerous times in my nine months as a truck driver. Continue reading →
Somewhere on a mountain highway in Virginia or West Virginia
Driving along I-77 in West Virginia and Virginia can be riveting. The green mountain scenery is astonishing, the air is fresh and cool, the highway curves are long and well-marked and there are several well-maintained roadside rest areas. As a rookie truck driver, I can see that stretches like this are what driving a tractor-trailer is all about.
While many friends and former coworkers are nestled in restrictive office cubicles, I’m out on the open road, enjoying the vistas while maintaining good speed and keeping a cautious watch for bad or distracted drivers … in cars, small trucks, motorcycles and even other tractor-trailers.
Eager for Enjoyment
I’ve been driving on my own for over six months now. Each week I head to North and South Carolina to drop off and pick up an interesting array of goods, including machinery, auto parts, clothes and toys. In this time, I’ve found there’s one thing that sticks with me and comes second only to safety: the desire to enjoy this career and all its trappings. Continue reading →
These are key measuring points in the circle check, the round-the-truck pre-trip inspection that every driver needs to complete each day before hitting the road. This is what I have spent the majority of my first week of truck driver training on, trying to memorize.
Most people don’t spend a lot of time walking around their car or truck and carefully examining it for possible defects – namely that everything in view or under the hood is secure and damage free, working properly, and free of obstructions. In the trucking industry, it’s a whole different story. You spend a lot of time doing exactly that, in the name of safety. Safety matters most in this business. Nothing else is even close. Continue reading →