According to INC. Magazine, it’s estimated that the average American makes more than 35,000 decisions in a day. Think about that. 35,000 decisions a day. From “Should I get out of bed?” to “Should I go to bed?”….35,000 decisions. 

Some of these decisions are simple to make and have very little bearing on our day. What color of socks to wear, or no socks at all? What to have for breakfast, or no breakfast at all? Should I take a jacket to work, or not? Mexican or Chinese for dinner? None of these are really life-changing, but they are decisions.

Some are seemingly simple, but can have bigger consequences. Should I call off work? Should I hit the snooze one more time? Should I stop for gas on the way to work, or just wait until the trip home? Pick incorrectly, and you might be in trouble at work, or with your significant other. 

Some decisions have consequences that are seemingly innocent, but can be harmful in the long run. Should I eat that entire package of Oreo’s? “No,” seems to be the right answer, but as I ate them one at a time, each cookie was a simple decision that seemed harmless enough. Looking back on it though, the decision to eat the entire bag is probably one of the reasons I am diabetic now. A long-term consequence from a seemingly harmless decision.

Then, there are decisions we make in haste that usually don’t turn out so well. Someone once said that a good decision is never made when one is angry or upset.I think there is some wisdom to this. How often have we apologized, or heard someone apologize, by starting with “I’m sorry, I was just angry and…” (insert bad decision here). Taking the time to make a well-informed decision is important, but not always possible. That can be troublesome as we pilot these trucks down the road. 

Professional drivers make many more decisions than the average person. We are constantly making decisions that have real-life and death possibilities. A bad decision made while driving down the road could result in injury or death to others or ourselves. That’s why road rage often ends in someone getting confrontational or worse. As professional drivers, we must not give in to the impulse to react in the heat of the moment, as much as we may want to let that idiot trying to pass us at a merge point, take out that row of construction barrels. While it may make you feel better, it could possibly push that driver over the edge.

As professional drivers, it is up to us to be the better person, the “professional” driver. That means staying level-headed when others wouldn’t, especially behind the wheel. From maintaining a safe following distance, pulling over for someone on the side of the road, or doing the speed limit in construction zones, these seemingly easy decisions could have very dire consequences if we choose incorrectly.

So, the next time someone flips you the single finger salute, cuts you off, or tries to squeeze their way in front of you, just take a second and let it go. After all, sometimes the best decisions are made after careful thought.

So, I’m off to have a salad. 

I sure miss Oreo’s….

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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