All in all a pretty boring day. It was road test day for the people who failed last Thursday. As I wrote yesterday, I thought they should have had to wait until tomorrow, but since I’m not calling the shots it mattered not. Three of the four passed this time. The failure came because a trainee stalled the engine at a green light and by the time he got it started up again, he pulled out and ran a red light. Two non-failures took the test and 50 percent of them failed. The young lady didn’t even get past the straight line backing. This was Team 2’s teachers pet. Awwww.
The 50 percent that passed was our team FKIA. Never at a loss for confidence I fully expected him to pass. Howsomever, he too stalled the tractor. At the first stop sign. It was an uphiller, but nevertheless … He drove for about 45 minutes in our truck earlier in the day and he was a mediocre shifter. The Limey tried to help him out, but in FKIA’s defense, it was a bit late in the game.
The result of these successes and failures is a more confident Shake. If these guys passed, unless I run a red light or squash an orange cone, I am golden. Kraut is still a bit nervous, I can tell, but he too has more confidence today than he did yesterday. Ali will undoubtedly pass the exam but he is being pretty hard on himself.
The three of us who didn’t take the test spent five and a half hours at the DPS office, most of it outside in the hot shade. I don’t think it got much past 97 degrees and the humidity was moderate. There was even a breeze. Sometimes. So we all survived.
Earlier in the day we spent a couple of hours at a McDonalds just east of Conroe. As I was sitting in the drivers seat after my time behind the wheel (during which I moved the truck about a hundred feet from the northwestern corner of the lot to our regular parking spot next to the curb on the west side of the lot), there was a knock at the door. It was a state trooper. What the heck did he want?
He asked if one of us was the instructor. Phshew, I think. It wasn’t me, I think. Learning that the Limey was the man, he said they were looking for some truckers to do a “test.” Well, kinda. He had questions about how long it would take a loaded tractor / trailer to move 55 feet while making a corner. The Limey said that the load mattered not and that in his considered opinion it would take a maximum of 5 seconds. He added that the load wouldn’t be a factor because starting in first gear, the number of shifts at the prescribed RPM would be the determining factor.
The other factor the trooper was considering is how truckers are trained to scope out an intersection before making a turn. Were truckers coached to look, left – right – left? The Limey said yes, and often they were coached to check each direction once again.
Turns out the trooper was investigating a fatality accident in which a fully loaded semi was making a turn from a neighborhood onto a Farm to Market road. The angle of the turn was smaller than a regular 90 degree turn. As the trooper sketched it out it looked to be perhaps a 40 degree turn which is of course tougher than a normal right. A car struck the trailer as it was stretched across the roadway.
A few additional data points:
- The car could only see the intersection from a thousand feet out.
- It was 2 a.m.
- The car was doing an estimated 92 miles an hour.
- There is no evidence that the driver of the car tried to brake.
The Limey’s kneejerk opinion was that it was the car’s fault. He equivocated that, of course, it was hard to make a final determination and he would like to see the intersection. But in his opinion, the trucker was doing everything he was supposed to be doing. The trooper collected information on how to get in touch with the Limey and thanked him for his input.
On the way out of the parking lot, he estimated 55 feet and we timed his turn – 4.65 seconds. (We had as top watch.) Very interesting.
So the three of us on the Limey’s team will head up to Conroe again tomorrow. I think we’ll all pass. The two losers from today will get another shot. Not predicting their outcomes.