There was a red light at the corner less than a mile from my delivery point. It was 07:55 and according to my plan the load was scheduled to arrive at 07:00. There was right turn lane a car length or so ahead of me. The shoulder was paved. There was also a fire hydrant just off the road. I probably would have cleared it. I was late, because the shipper (it was an intra company shipment) was 4 hours late loading it. If they had loaded it on time, I would have dropped the load the night before.

As, I was contemplating what to do, I remembered Aaron Rodger’s advice. It was Sept. 24th 2016. The Packers were 1-2 and the offense was struggling. Packer nation was grumbling. When asked about the sluggish start Rodgers with his California cool attitude spelled out R-E-L-A-X. It got nationwide coverage. The Packers went on a winning streak and like the prior several years, they made it back to the playoffs.

Rodgers’ advice came to me as I was contemplating my predicament. The thought of a slightly risky maneuver went away. The light turned green and it was easy to cover the lanes and make my turn and miss said fire hydrant by 3 feet. This customer requires us to slide our axles on the street before we enter the gate. No problem, I slid the axle back and turned into the gate. Checked the load in with the guard and she told me to drop the wagon in the yard.

If it was that hot, they would have had me drop it in a door. It made me think of all the other times, I had hurried for no reason. Trust me, there are too many to count. The ELD mandate has changed the boundaries. In the past, I might have gone a few minutes over the clock and gotten the load there the night before. I could have “flexed” another half hour. I could have “stepped it up a few notches” and raced the clock. I won’t do that. That may have compromised safety, or put me at risk for a ticket. If the freight was that hot they should have loaded it sooner.

That brings me back to Rodger’s advice. Relax. Here I was thinking of how I could put myself and my company’s CSA score at risk in order to deliver a load when I thought that it was supposed to be there. I could have driven a little over the speed limit. I could have driven a little over my HOS limitations. I may have saved a minute or two with a slightly risky maneuver. None of these were worth it. I took Rodger’s advice. I relaxed and did my job. We need to realize that we can no longer make up for a shipper who loads us too late. Come to think of it, we probably never should have.

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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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