There are risks and rewards we face every day. Typically truck drivers are paid by the mile and this sets up a scenario where a balance must be maintained between risk versus reward.

Right now, we are in the closing stages of the winter season. Snow and icy conditions probably require more of a judgment call on when it is safe to proceed. Making the wrong decision can lead to a career-ending crash in snowy/icy conditions. It is a difficult decision at times to miss several hours or in some cases days to avoid this risk.

We must always ask ourselves in there enough reward to risk everything we have worked for during these conditions. The older I get the less desire I have to continue on during treacherous winter conditions as I have seen the devastating results of those that pushed on.

The area I question more in regards to risk/rewards is aggressive driving practices. Is it worth the amount of time you are going to gain by not slowing down in a construction zone? The risk is not worth the speeding ticket for the little reward which will be gained by speeding. Often, I see vehicles jockeying for position going through tight construction zones that are marked with a solid line. When you see a solid white line in a construction zone it means to stay in your lane. Is the risk worth the less than one minute of time saved by driving aggressively in a construction zone?

Another area where the risk does not seem to match the reward is driving briskly at a travel center, terminal, or rest area. Often in this scenario, there are pedestrians meandering about, vehicles maneuvering, as well as a host of other risks which would seem to outweigh any possible reward.

Fog, dust storms, or smoky conditions make for a situation where often you cannot even see the risk. The challenges in fog/dust/smoke are your inability to see far enough ahead to stop within the distance you can see. By slowing down to a speed, you can stop within during reduced visibility presents another risk. When you are driving slow enough in fog/dust/smoke you have the worry of being rear-ended by another vehicle who is driving faster than their vision should have dictated.

Reduce speed zones, speed warning signs are all erected to reduce risk associated with that section of highway. You may be able to navigate these sections of highway at a much higher speed, this is a bad idea as you never know why the reduced speed or warning has been posted. Some of these scenarios could be a blind intersection, sharp drop off ahead, narrow lanes, pedestrians, and a plethora of other hazards. These signs were put there for a reason which may not be readily apparent. One of these could be that there were crashes there in the past. To ignore these warning signs is much like playing Russian Roulette. The hazard that presents the risk may not be present as you pass through this section of highway. Do you really want to take the chance of finding out why the warning sign has been erected? In closing the real reward is parking your rig at the end of each duty cycle without incident.

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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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A great article Henry. I was tempted to press on during inclement weather in Missouri last Wednesday just because I had available drive time. I made the smart decision and shut down early. I was able to start refreshed and less stressed the next day.

February 25, 2018 13:51:47 PM