It’s easy to find things that need to be fixed and as human beings, that consumes a large portion of our daily life. There is a good reason for so much of our time being dedicated to “fixing” things. The simplest item that needs to be “fixed” is finding something to eat and drink because if we do not “fix” this basic need we will not have the fuel our bodies need to survive.
On a daily basis, we see that roads and how people drive need to be fixed. In the trucking industry, we are constantly putting a large amount of time thought and money into “fixing” efficiency, hours of service, and highway infrastructure issues.
On any given day it’s easy to feel like nobody is doing anything about aggressive and reckless driving. If you talk to many car drivers you will hear complaints about trucks hogging up the road and bullying their way through traffic. At the same time when talking to a truck driver, you will hear many stories of how someone needs to do something about how “four-wheelers” drive around trucks.
The question I would like to pose in this blog is what would happen if instead of trying to “fix” what everyone else is doing wrong in regards to navigating our nation’s highways we focus on how we drive ourselves. Examples are items such as following the posted speed limit, obeying traffic signs, and not driving aggressively just to name a few.
The reason for this installment comes from an experience I recently had while traveling north on Interstate 65 through Alabama. Let me set the stage for this event by painting the picture of the events as they unfolded in front of me on this particular day. I heard a voice crack the silence of my truck cab from the citizens band radio [C.B.] stating that traffic was coming to a stop and the left lane was closed due to a vehicle crash in the left lane. At this point, the four-way flashers began to blink on a semi-trailer on the horizon. I began to slow and also turned on my four-way flashers to warn others behind me that a situation was ahead. As traffic slowed more helpful information came across the air on my C.B. Radio informing all who were tuned in that the right lane was closed shortly after this first incident.
This is when a funny thing happened. Everyone for the most part began communicating and working together. Yes I know it sounds strange for people to work together to “fix” the situation, however, it really did happen with a really large group of automobile and semi-truck drivers. After traffic came to nearly a stop, truck drivers and car drivers began to start signaling their intentions to merge into the open lane in order to make it past the traffic incident. I want you to know this all happened with a traffic backup that was in excess of 2 miles in length. I am proud to say truck drivers took the lead by opening up spaces in the right lane and the automobiles seemed to understand the situation and for the most part, everyone completed the zipper maneuver of getting into the open lane in an orderly fashion without anyone racing to get to the front.
I was quite pleased that everyone stayed in a single file line as we had to switch to the left lane for the highway construction that had the opposite lane closed shortly after we cleared the first incident. After clearing the second lane closure I think a lot of people at this particular moment realized something special, while small in some ways, had just occurred. People began to wave and acknowledge each other in a positive way as we began to return to normal highway speeds.
In closing, I will remember this as the time everyone “worked” together to “fix” a problem. With all of the problems in the world today that need “fixing” it seemed fitting to share a story where success was found by working together with courtesy and respect.
Traffic “zippering” in place was a wonderful thing. Let’s work together.