I’m always impressed at exactly how stupid people manage to be when it rains. So many “incidents” on the highways this afternoon. Heading up to our school, there was some SUV-type vehicle that had managed to go off the highway on the left-hand side, through a barrier, down a hill, and rolled over into a concrete piling. If the piling hadn’t been there, they would have ended up in the middle of four lanes of traffic going the other direction. I really wish that piling hadn’t been there. Let’s see… you’re driving an SUV (high center of gravity), it’s raining (possibility of low traction), you are taking a sharp exit ramp to the left (un-banked, so not a curve to take fast). Do you slow down? No! Just keep on driving and flip your dumb ass off the highway.
The next one that I actually saw was when I was on my way home. There was a tractor/trailer heading the other direction on the highway in the left (center) lane that had gone into a tractor jackknife. So from that, we can fairly safely assume that the semi was fully-loaded at the time. The tractor looked older, so I’m going to guess that it probably didn’t have ABS. Based on those two pieces of information, it seems to me that the driver probably had to apply his brakes hard (stopped traffic), and the tractor brakes locked, but the trailer brakes didn’t. The normal way to avoid a jackknife in such a situation is to use stab braking, where you stab the brakes and let the wheels lock, then release the brakes until the wheels start rolling, then stab the brakes again, etc. Naturally, that takes more room than normal braking, but it’s still not hard to do. So what could lead to a full-on jackknife in the middle of the highway? FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE! I would expect someone with a CDL to know better, but I guess not. And I forgot to mention… the truck was a Haz-Mat truck, but unfortunately, I couldn’t read the placards from where I was. I would love to know what was on board.
As far as the kids on the bus today, I drove the same route this afternoon, and we only had the same two kids on it again. Very nice, very easy, fairly quick. And I found out when I got back to the lot that the route is basically mine at this point. I’m still technically a spare, but they told me to plan on driving that route until further notice. Yay for me! No more guessing where I’m supposed to go.
There was some very amusing and involved conversation on the radio today. Evidently, some driver was on the highway, driving her empty bus. Some truck clipped on of the mirrors on it. She “didn’t know” if it was broken or not. Now maybe I’m special, but I think it’s fairly easy to tell when a mirror is cracked. The dispatcher told her to pull off the highway to check the mirror, then radio back. To everyone’s relief, the mirror was fine (I for one was worried). The driver then informed the dispatcher that she got the license plate number of the truck, but the driver had flipped her off when she tried to motion him over. And I can’t blame him. Replacement glass for the mirrors costs at most $13. Is it really worth getting a semi to pull off the highway for that?
I also had another moment of forgetting that I’m not in a bus when I went to head home. I started up the van, put it in drive, hit the accelerator, and had to think for a second why I was moving backwards. I had actually put it in reverse, since I’m used to the gearshift being in neutral, as the buses have no “Park”. Maybe one day I’ll make the transition without incident.