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I'm a person who likes to be aware of my surroundings. When I say “aware of my surroundings,” this is a practice that I, as well as many other people, do as a habit. The other day I was walking back to my truck after having lunch during my break. So, there I was, walking between my trailer and the neighboring truck at the adjacent parking spot. While my main focus was on giving my equipment a once-over, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the trailer parked next to me, appeared to have a flat tire. I took my hand and thumped the sidewall of that tire. Sure enough, the outside tire of their dual wheel assembly was completely flat. The trailer did not appear to be heavily loaded, because the adjacent tire to this flat wasn’t bulging from carrying the weight intended to be supported by both tires. I continued the walk around my truck to finish doing my pre-trip, and then to the cab of my truck. I looked over to the truck next to mine to see if the driver was in it. The curtains were pulled, and it appeared that the driver was asleep, or taking a nap. I had a few minutes left before it was time for me to go, and thought to myself... “Should I wake the driver up and let them know they have a flat tire? What would I want someone else to do for me in this situation?”. 

The travel center where I was taking my break was located in a fairly remote location, and did not offer any repair services. This meant that the driver would have to call for a mobile tire service provider. Of course, as we all know in the trucking industry, If our wheels aren't turning, we aren't earning. If this driver did not notice the flat tire until they were ready to go and do their pre-trip inspection, there would be a delay for this driver upon starting their shift. And I thought to myself, that if I woke the driver up, they may not be able to get back to sleep as they worry about getting a service provider secured to repair the flat tire. Then it came to mind, “Could this cause the driver to have a fatigue-related crash or incident during the day?”. I settled on leaving the driver a note attached to the driver's side window of their truck. So, that’s what I did... I wrote a note on a yellow piece of notepad for them to see as they got up. My assumption was that the driver would get up in time to eat before their departure, and the note that I left would give them time to call for the service truck, and minimize any downtime. After I left, I wondered if I had done the right thing by leaving the note, or if should I have knocked on the driver's door to inform them.

As I resumed my trip, it made me think of the camaraderie that many people say is absent in our industry today, as truck drivers. To me, looking out for our fellow drivers is what camaraderie is all about. This includes getting out and helping drivers get into difficult parking spots, informing drivers when you notice something out of order with their equipment, and basically just looking out for one another. In the end, it’s still on my mind... “Did I do the right thing?”.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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