Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Million Miles

What exactly is a million miles?  Well here is an example of what the average person's working day is like compared to mine. How many times have you driven to work?  If you’re an average person, it’s every day since you were 18.  Minus some weekends and some holidays.  Basically you’ve left your home to drive to work or go wherever and return home, approximately 35 miles per day for your entire adult life since you earned your driver’s license.  

Every other day, if you live near a major city, there is an accident along your route.  The accident is from a collision or vehicular failure that happens at random on the highway.  At least once a week on your particular route to and from work, school, or a friend’s house, there is some kind of incident on the road involving a wrecked vehicle or two.  

After dealing with this day in and day out, every day, you get the picture that the road is a dangerous place where you manage to survive and make it to work and back successfully.  It becomes robotic after a while.  You know how long it will take you to get to where you need to be and how long it will take you to get back.  Usually you can plan your morning and evening based on the historical time it has taken you in the past.  

Now consider that instead of arriving at work, you never do.  You just keep going all day and never get there.  (Maybe that’s a good thing depending on your job.  LOL)  Then you do it again and again and again.  Day after day after day, week and after week, month after month.  Driving around 700 miles a day endlessly.  700 miles is 20 times more than your average commute per day.  Right now in your average commute you’ll see one accident every other day.  Consider if you times that by 20.  Consider that we cross country truck drivers see thousands of accidents in our careers.  Many of them happen right before our eyes.  In some cases they happen directly to us.  

We battle fatigue, traffic, weather, our health, our equipment, and the latest legal hurdles thrown in our path to see to it that everyone in the country has stuff.  All truckers are inconvenienced by the laws that don’t allow drivers to park in towns overnight.  Some of us handle it better than others.  Some of us thrive on the lifestyle where some only dabble in it and decide it isn’t for them.  The latter is more common.  

So to get to a million miles you must maintain your composure minute by minute, day after day, so on and so on for about a decade.  If that sounds appealing to you then you shouldn’t wait and go get your CDL so you can start racking up the miles.  The trick is to always focus on safety.  It’s not as easy as some people think and as some people make it look.  

In fact when I started trucking, I didn’t fully realize what the others before me had accomplished.  I understood what they did in that they drove a truck, but once you see that it takes tens of thousands of miles of watching, listening, and reacting before you start to get a handle on exactly what the job entails, well it starts to sink in. 

A million miles can go by and a generation will have passed.  Some drivers out here have over 6 million miles under their belt.  Now that’s a lot of miles!

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