Hit by a truck?

My friend told me at the weekend she was hit by a truck. She was all very shaken up and had tweaked her back in the crash. She was very happy to be home safe and curled up on the couch with a bottle of wine.

The photo she showed me showed her car sideways across the road and the “offending” truck parked in line with a couple of other vehicles at a junction stop line. “You were hit by a truck?” I asked.

I haven’t got to the bottom of what actually happened due to lots of arm waving and harrumphing in the story telling, but the evidence suggests that her car careered sideways into a stationary truck. Nonetheless it is much more dramatic to have “been hit by a truck” than to confess to screwing up your own driving and disregard the fright you gave the truck driver along the way.

Unfortunately this attitude pervades far too many drivers. There is a sense of driving along in a bubble doing everything correctly on autopilot whilst the world does its thing outside of your bubble. When your bubble is burst, “crikey, what were THEY thinking, my day is ruined.”

Talking to a fleet operator last week and reviewing their fleet profile, we agreed it was all too quick. “These guys are sharing the road with my family” he tells me. Indeed they are, and they need to slow down and keep their eyes on the road. So too, do your family.

In an interview with the media last week, I was talking about how all drivers need to improve their driving. The interviewer wrote “all truckies need to get better.” My correction was swift – not all truck drivers – all drivers. You, me, our staff, our families. It doesn’t matter how good we think we are, there is always room for improvement. The worst mistake to make is for each of us to believe that we are “good enough.”

For those of you who saw the photo in the media of a silver ute screwing up an overtake on the Kaimais recently, hats off to the drivers either side that contributed to all parties arriving at their destination safely. Being alert meant the difference between 2 utes losing a wing mirror each and 2 utes losing a driver each.

The Waikato police published this graphic at the weekend:


My friend summarised the need for EVERY driver to learn this lesson when she said of her own crash “I hope these things don’t come in threes”. Well I hope so too, but there are a few things you can try to avoid the next one. Like not grabbing your phone when it beeps, not having that extra drink at night, and focussing on the road ahead and the various obstacles in your path. Take it easy out there, it might not be your mistake that ruins your day, so keep your speed within the limit and your eyes open to have the best chance to avoid the incoming vehicle. Oh, and wear your seat belt to keep you inside your vehicle and its specially designed roll cage in case you do get hit.