Thursday, September 19, 2013

Minor Parking Lot Accident

"If you can make it past the first 6 months solo, you know you can make it as a truck driver." -Jim Hawk, one of my instructors.

[Harrisonburg Travel Center]

I remember my first 6 months of driving a truck solo was the most stressful. Learning to shift, following the fuel route, learning to back, the overnight parking nightmare, etc.. The most stressful was backing into a client's dock with a bunch of gluey-eyed drivers watching me. All of us went through that. And we all have a lot of empathy when we see a new Driver learning to back.

This guy missed his setup to do a straight back. So he did a U-Turn to go right into the hole. But he missed that too. When he backed out to correct, he hit my mirror. The Kenworth he was driving is not an easy truck to start his career with. Tiny mirrors. Long wheelbase. Lots of blind spots.

He got out of his truck to apologize and asked if he could just give me some money. He was probably thinking about all the dough he just spent on Truck School. And worried about his employment.

"This is just a minor parking lot accident. The procedure is for us to exchange information, take photos, and then we go are separate ways," I told him. It took all of 5 seconds thinking about that to be at ease. I figured it was his first accident and he had no idea what to do. And that's how it went down.

It took me a week to get to a company shop to get it fixed. I didn't know that the mirror pops right off. You grasp it on the top corners with both hands, then pull down and towards you to get it to pop off. It does take quite a bit of pressure though. The parts counter guy at Kansas City showed me how to do it and gave me a replacement mirror.

I realized a few days ago that Crete's Accident Reporting Kit is missing an Accident Exoneration Card. It you get into an accident with another driver - and the accident is not your fault - you should ask the other driver to fill out this card. By filling out the card the other driver accepts responsibility for hitting you. And releases you from liability.

The Accident Exoneration Card should look something like this:

I hereby exonerate and free from all negligence or blame driver and his employer in connection with an accident involving the undersigned which occurred at _______ on this date __________.


Witnessed By


If you don't have one of these you can print this out right now. If you don't have access to a printer you can write it out right now on a blank piece of paper. It will have the same legal weight if it's typed or hand written. You don't need to be a truck driver to have one. So print one out and put one in your car too.

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