It was set up to be a rough day. It seems as if my biggest goal in life is to miss rush hours in Chicago. After running the upper midwest out of Green Bay for 29 years, I have gotten pretty good at missing the rush. It was not going to happen this day. It started at about 07:00 in Sturtevant, WI (about 20 miles south of Milwaukee). My load had 3 drops around Appleton, after that I had to pick up my next load back in Sturtevant and head to Ohio. There was no practical way to avoid the afternoon rush.

The day started well. The longest of my 3 drops took 45 minutes. The others were off in less than 15.It was fairly early afternoon when I got back to our yard in Sturtevant and my trailer was nowhere to be found. It had not arrived yet. Dispatch told me that it was about 20 minutes out. Seemed like a good time to take my mandatory 30 and eat lunch. By the time my break was over my load had arrived. I had decided to take the tollway, but bypass the top toll (the most expensive one) by uitlizing US 41 and IL120.

Traffic was moving great until I got to the Ohare intercahnges. It was actually better than I expected. Those 10-15 miles from Touhy Ave. to just past I 55 (Stevenson Expressway) are usually the worst. By the time I got to 95th Street, it should have gotten better. It seemed to be getting worse. Word on the CB was that a truck had jack knifed and was blocking the 3 right lanes near the 15 mile marker. 

The clock kept ticking and I was getting aggravated. This unaccounted for delay was going to cost me a solid 90 minutes. That meant that my delivery was going to be late. It set up an extremely challenging next day. Worse yet, it meant that my weekend would get started later, and no one was going to offer to mow my lawn.

Then we reached the crash site and my perspective changed. Looking at the older model truck, I could not see how the driver could have survived it. I hope and pray that the driver make it. Here I was getting upset because my next coupld of days were going to be rough. My weekend was not going to be quite as long as I had planned. It is then that I realized how blessed that I have been. I've always made it home, even if I was a little late. Every day some drivers don't. They never will.

That changed my perspective. PLEASE DRIVE SAFELY!  MAKE IT HOME! Nothing is more important than life itself. Yeah, I won't get as much done this weekend as I had hoped. It stinks. Then I think of all the drivers who won't get home this weekend and I am thankful that I did.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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