It’s a known fact, and probability says that the more time you spend traveling in a vehicle the higher your chances for accidents. I’ve had my fair share of fender benders, mostly before my 21st birthday including one particularly horrifying and life changing crash involving a tractor trailer, which left me with a fractured pelvis and one dead in our vehicle. It happened a long time ago and fortunately I was not the driver, having fallen asleep in the backseat which lessened the impact. Nonetheless, I cringe when I see people driving dangerously on our highways and love the signs in TX that read, “Drive Friendly.” On our most recent tour through the American West this June we encountered a driver who was definitely NOT heeding the sign.
We had completed our run, which started in Los Angeles before heading into NM and CO via Phoenix, AZ. Making our way back to Louisiana we were minding our own business, doing the speed limit, (which, in TX is plenty fast for me at 75) when in my side mirror I saw a truck hauling ass. I must say that most truckers are great drivers, having jobs that depend on it and have gotten a bad reputation over the years, mostly from little old ladies. That said, this guy was a maniac, hauling an empty wide load trailer and passing at 85 or 90 by veering onto the shoulder.
Bastard. No offense to his mother intended.
Normally you would just mutter something like “asshole” and drive on, letting the dumbass get his comeuppance at some point down the road, hoping for a Highway Patrol to catch the offending driver. And then he threw a rock. Small. DING! Slow down a little…back off. But then came The Boulder. WHACK! Our guitar player, Chris Adkins who was sitting in the back seat actually ducked. And then gasps all around as we gazed upon the 3 inch, circular crack in the windshield.
Now, common sense would implore that you do something sane, like call the aforementioned HP. But not knowing exactly how much time that would take, we thought it would be much more productive to get the guys’ trucking company info. You’ll recall that he was going much faster than us, but we were about to hit Wichita Falls and more traffic so we hoped he would get slowed, allowing us to catch up.
I put all my driving skills to the test as I followed him, changing lanes (always using my blinkers, mind you) and weaving through traffic. I watched him almost run other cars off the road multiple times. I watched as more rocks were thrown. I knew we had to catch him. And just the other side of town, success! We pulled along his left side and Dave B was ready with the pen and paper to write down the info on the side of his cab. As he looked down and saw what was going on he immediately slowed down to below the speed limit. Ooooooooo, yeah. Sweet satisfaction.
Well the slower speed didn’t last for long. He pulled behind us and we figured it would be safer to follow him instead. The thought of some methed out trucker following us to a rest stop and kicking our asses crossed my mind, as it should. A quick call to his dispatch company in Michigan and ten minutes later he was doing the speed limit. I hope that guy really gets it from his boss.
We had another incident, also in TX with a rather large raccoon on the way back to California a week and a half later. But that’s a story for another time. Let’s just say that one raccoon who decided to cross the road didn’t make it to the other side.
And that folks, is all she wrote.