Moments of Grace - 5

Updated: Jan 31

Driving a semi-truck on ice

When I was in my 30's, before I returned to college to get my Master's degree in counseling, I was a long haul truck driver. I drove for several different companies over the years, but this moment of grace came during a snow and ice storm while driving for a company out of South Dakota. It was about 3:00 in the morning. I'd been driving for several hours and I was bone tired. My codriver was sound asleep in the sleeper berth of the 18 wheeler. He was unaware of the weather outside and how slick the roads were. I was about 45 miles outside of Huron, South Dakota - headquarters of the trucking company I worked for and the destination I was trying to reach.

I'd never seen the road this slick before. There was water on top of the melting ice. I could spin the steering wheel around and it made no difference to the direction I was headed. The truck lumbered from one side of the road to the other. It would head toward the ditch on one side of the two lane road and then lumber back to the other side. It was like a gigantic hand was pushing the truck from one lane to the other. Luckily there was no other traffic on the road. I was only going about 15 or 20 miles an hour and there was no safe place to stop. Any other truck on the highway would have the same problems we were having and would very likely run right into us if we tried to pull over to the side of the road.

I continued on - going slowly back and forth across the center line - sliding from one side to the other. Getting within 5 feet or so from the ditch on one side when the truck would "magically" start heading toward the other side. It seemed like my guardian angels keeping the truck on the road and out of the ditch, helping me reach my destination, now less than 30 mile away. My goal was to get to where we were headed, pull into a motel and get some well-needed sleep. It took almost two hours to go 45 miles. The last 15 miles were a bit better. Snow on the road, but no ice. When I finally pulled into the motel we were to stay at, the other driver woke up, got out of bed and climbed down the side of the truck - oblivious to how dangerous the roads were that night.

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