Here’s a little known fact about me - I don’t always root for the so-called “right” side to win. Okay, I usually don’t root for the right side and it’s probably well-known, particularly when the situation involves stupid people.
Last week, I was making my last run of the week in my semi. The time was around 2:00 in the morning. Not a lot of traffic is on the road at that time and its normally peaceful - the most uneventful part of my run. Not this night.
I was approaching another semi-truck and I moved over to the left lane to pass. As I pulled even with the truck, in my mirror, I saw the headlights of a car, and it was gaining fast. I continued passing the truck, which took a minute or two. By this time, the car was riding my bumper. The driver, apparently anxious to get around, began flashing his lights back and forth from bright to dim. Not being able to speed up, even if I had wanted to, I waited patiently for the truck driver to flash his lights, signaling that I had cleared him, and then I moved back into the right lane. Once my trailer was out of the left lane, the driver of the car sped up, quickly passing me. I figured with the hurry he was in he’d soon be out of sight. Then, his stupidity gene kicked in.
Instead of going on down the road as a normal person would do, the guy thought it’d be a good idea to play chicken with a semi at 60 mph! He pulled to the center of the freeway so his car blocked both lanes, and hit the brakes - hard. Now, this happens quite a bit to truck drivers and so I was prepared for it. I hit the brakes and the Jake came on slowing me down. Generally, once a stupid driver has made their point that I’ve slowed them down, they speed up again and that’s the end of it. Not this guy. He slowed down even more, still riding the centerline.
Rather than hit him, or play dangerous games on the freeway, (a game that I can easily win, but then lose my job) I kept slowing down. Our speed was now about 30 mph.
The guy in the semi behind me had seen what was going on and being an independent driver must have had no worries about losing his job. And, as he later said on the CB, he really didn’t like stupid people. He pulled to the left lane and accelerated, passing me and continuing on toward the car. Apparently, the guy in the car was too busy watching me because he didn’t move as the truck raced toward him. The road we were on had only about a one-foot shoulder on the left side and when I discovered the truck driver had no intention of slowing down and nowhere to go, I started backing off as fast as I could, waiting for the crash.
The car swerved suddenly to the right and at first I thought the truck had hit it, but I saw no flying pieces of plastic and metal. I realized the driver had jerked the wheel. Evidently, he’d finally seen the big truck bearing down on him. Then, I had another worry, as it appeared the car was going to flip right in front of me. It made several swerves but somehow the driver managed to get it under control. I pulled to the left lane and passed the now very slowly moving car. The other semi was well down the road. A minute or so later, the car speeded up and passed both of us, disappearing into the night.
This story has a good ending; no one got hurt or killed, no one was involved in a wreck, and no one (namely me) got fired. But for a few tense moments, the possibility of all the above was present.
The ordeal had lasted only a minute or so and as I watched the scene play out in slow motion, I had one clear thought. Although I knew what would happen if there were a crash, and knew the truck driver would be at fault in any altercation, I was still rooting for the truck. I don’t really like stupid drivers either!