This week, I did something that I rarely do. I parked on a fuel island. It was about 21:00 and the lot in the small truck stop was full There were 2 hours and 15 minutes left on my clock. It was in in Sturtevant, WI (between Milwaukee and the IL state line) and my load was going to Saint Louis. I had just picked up this trailer from our terminal down the road. I ran in for a quick soda. It took 4 minutes.

It was not my intention to inconvenience anyone. The Kwik Trip where I stopped is not really set up for truck parking. There are a couple of places designated for short term parking, but they were full. Trucks were parked basically wherever they could. I don’t blame them. Parking spots between Chicago and Milwaukee are hard to come by. I did not want to take one up.

While I was in there someone disconnected my blue line. Why? Were they trying to send me a message? What did they expect to accomplish? Well, it is impossible to know their intent. They did not show the courage to confront me. What we do know is the potential consequences of their actions. That is someone could get killed. In theory the truck could run out of air and stop. That isn’t good, but it is far from the worst that could happen.

Disconnecting that line reduces breaking capacity by approximately 40%. Imagine if a mini van stopped for a yellow light that the trucker thought that they wouldn’t. That mini van full of kids stops 70 feet in front of the truck. Normally the truck would stop in 60 feet, 10 feet behind the mini van. Except that this time it doesn’t. It would take 100 feet to stop. That is 30 feet beyond the rear of the mni van. It plows into the back of that mini van. Imagine if you were the one who disconnected that line and you witnessed the crash. Would you be proud of what you accomplished?

We should always check. Walk around your truck. Kick the tires. See if the lights are working. Those are things that we should do every time. Unfortunately there are people out there who think they are being righteous by enforcing some sort of private code. Check to see if your tandems have been unlocked, visually see if your fifth wheel pin is in place. Check you lines. Make sure that you hood is fastened. Perform a tug test. No one should ever touch another person's truck with bad intentions. It happens. So, always check.

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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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