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Oh Deer!

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    Oh Deer!

    Yeah, the title isn't just a play on words. Yours truly is down for a while, while my rig gets fixed.

    For those of you who didn't know, I drive an eighteen-wheeler for a living. Over-the-road stuff - going from state to state pretty much all over the country.

    Of the United States, that is.

    And well, do you know what they tell you about hitting deer, and how it can really mess up your car? Yeah, well, it isn't ever a good idea in a bigrig, either.

    deervstruck.jpg

    It can really mess up one of those, too. The whole hood is likely going to need to be replaced, along with the side panel behind the wheel. In all, we're looking at about $10,000 to have it fixed.

    But...!

    A company would rather need to fix this, than to have to replace a whole rig. Not to mention maybe the driver, too! The rule of the road for bigrig drivers in situations like this, is to just hit the deer. Don't swerve to miss it, as doing that could find the driver turning the whole rig over, which could lead to a total loss of the vehicle, its cargo, and likely the driver as well! Even if the driver doesn't get hurt, the total loss of the vehicle could result in more than a quarter of a million dollars. Just the tractor itself costs just under $100,000. Every training manual on the subject says to hit the deer. Don't swerve. Don't risk your life to save an animal. Don't risk your whole rig to avoid hitting it.

    This will make the third deer I've killed in an eighteen-year-long (and counting!) career. Two times out those three, I had to fight instinct to not hit the animal.

    Deer weigh in at an average of 150 pounds (68 kilograms). They're not small animals, especially when one suddenly looms up in one's headlights! It was everything I could do not to swerve. Every instinct I had said avoid it - slam on the brakes, swerve! 'You do not want to hit it!' It was one of those things that can really make your stomach leap up into your throat.

    But I've had years of on-going training. I've been a certified trainer, myself, for well over ten years. I hold no less than five certifications for defensive driving techniques. I am the proud holder of several safety awards. I haven't had an accident in well over ten years. No tickets, either, in well over twelve. Yet, when that deer loomed up in my headlights... it is impossible to describe how that felt. But, I let go of my instinct to swerve and let my years of training and experience guide what I did. Doing it didn't make it any less heart-wrenching, however.

    The deer vanished under my hood, the sound of breaking fiberglass loud in the truck. I then felt the animal go under the wheels. Its body made a sound I'll never forget. I was carrying 42,000 pounds of freight. The poor animal never had a chance.

    Poetic? Yes, perhaps. But when one knows they've taken an animal's life, especially one as beautiful and as innocent as a deer, it is an experience one must seek solace from to be able to endure. I find it in versification perhaps. Especially when one has to turn off emotion, let training take over, and just hold tight to the wheel, struck with horror, as one does what has to be done.
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    #2
    Well I am glad it didn't end up worse and you managed not to swerve (I would have...) and I hope it'll get fixed without any additional hassle or stress.

    And with 'down' do you mean you will not be able to post on the site and we should wait patiently or just job related down?
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      #3
      I'm just glad you're alright. I had a pretty good scare when you sent me those pictures. I saw those and wondered if you were alright. It sucks that it happened, but I guess that 3 in 18 years isn't so bad. It's still in the freak accident category.

      Oh, and Miqu I can answer that. This happened not too far from home, so he just had to get a taxi back to the apartment. Down as far as working for the next few days, but he wasn't hurt and he's got his internet, so he should be posting, as you've seen.

      Just goes to show though, you can never really know what's going to happen on the road.
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        #4
        Originally posted by Miqu View Post
        And with 'down' do you mean you will not be able to post on the site and we should wait patiently or just job related down?
        Yeah, just job-related down. I'm actually at home right now. I happened to hit the deer less than 30 miles from where I live. o.O

        So no worries. I will in fact, probably be posting a lot.

        See if you all can keep up with me - heh!

        Which reminds me! I haven't seen any of Mister Valence since I last posted with he and the Captain. One hopes we get to see him soon.
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          #5
          Glad to see you're OK, Rick.

          This makes me think about all the trucks here in Australia, though. Kangaroos can be every bit as daft as deer.
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            #6
            Originally posted by Arratra View Post
            Glad to see you're OK, Rick.

            This makes me think about all the trucks here in Australia, though. Kangaroos can be every bit as daft as deer.
            That is the truly weirdest thing about all of it. Completely daft! I didn't see the animal until I was almost right on top of it, and when I did, it was as if it had no sense of self-preservation at all!

            One would think, any animal, with a large object bearing down on it, would shy away. Right? Natural instinct and all that? Not this animal! It was looking right at my truck, and it just kept walking! It just kept walking!

            I've heard the phrase 'Deer in the headlights', but I always thought it was just a wives tale. Not so much anymore. The only explanation is that it was confused by my truck's headlights. It just kept staring right into them, right up to that fateful moment.

            I'll tell you one thing. It was certainly a surreal experience. I think that was the part that shook me up the most about it. The deer, literally, walked right into its own death.
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