Friday, August 22, 2008

The big truck that couldn't

It sometimes makes me wonder if New York truckers really love the The Little Engine That Could story. They've seen the sign about the height clearance, they know the height of their truck and yet they're sitting there behind the wheel and saying "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" until half the roof of the trailer has been torn off. There's one crucial point that they seem to always forget, it was the Little Engine, not the Big Truck.

When I used to live on J and E 12th, almost every week you'd have a trucker that either was smart enough to stop a foot in front of the train and was now needing help backing up, or one who was stupid and who managed to rip off the top of the cabin and a good part of the trailer. When DOT finally put the clearance warning sign all the way on Coney Island, it helped, a little.

If the clearance is one or two inches, maybe you shouldn't try it, especially when your truck isn't fully loaded and you just inflated your tires. If the height of your truck is half a foot more than the clearance, dude, go back to school and learn some basic math.

Stupid enough to risk it? At least do it slowly and not at full speed. And if you see you're not going to make it, it's probably better to get a ticket for blocking traffic than to get your pay docked and to get fired for damaging, really badly, the really expensive truck you're driving.

Trucks may be impervious to collisions with cars but they're not as immortal as they think. When it come to concrete and steel, you lose. Reminds of the joke about an American nuclear sub demanding that the British lighthouse move out of its way.


  1. That was funny comparing it to the little engine that said "I could".

    I've heard a story once of a truck that got caught under a train track overheard.

    This reminds me of those clearance signs by ramps in the Kings Plaza parking lot. Every time we get to that part I always feel like the car is not going to make it, even thought the car isn't big, its just since its going uphill you get this feeling as though its gonna hit the ceiling. Every time I'm surprised when the car makes it, even though its expected to make it.

    So it could be these truckers only see eye level and don't realize how high the truck really is, although they should know the specifications about the truck.

  2. They're required, for this specific reason, to know the height of the truck loaded and unloaded and also the weight of the truck loaded and unloaded.

    When they're going under train tracks, it's downhill, not uphill.

    Once?! It wasn't once, it was at least once a week.

  3. LOL. That was funny. Still it makes for good entertainment when the trucker decides to do something stupid. Especially if I'm not in a car right behind the trucker.

  4. Moshe: Your right, it would make sense for them to have to know that stuff.

    Exactly, if its downhill they think they have more room than they actually have.

    Ok, could be it happened more times, I just haven't heard of it those times. First time I ever heard of such a thing was this year. I think it was on the news even.

  5. LOL.

    Too bad you arent on the trucker-enforcement committee.

  6. Maybe this was a failed suicide truck attempt?

  7. lol, someone should tell him that usually, you get on the tracks, not under them.

  8. i hate these truckers. they are always backing up the trafic by me on ave p because they can't fit through.

    "They've seen the sign about the height clearance, they know the height of their truck"

    the truckers know that the height on the signs doesn not represent the true height, so they figure they can still squeeze through. (the clearance the DOT puts on the signs is a bit lower than the true clearance)

  9. They do that because people are stupid and because, as I mentioned, the truck's height changes based on load PSI of the tires.

  10. MOSHE:

    i understand the psi business. but in addition to that, a trucker i once guided throught an overpass told me that the DOT signs don't reflect the true clearance.

    the overpass on p and 16th. trucks are always getting stuck there or realize at the last second and then block traffic as they back out

  11. Like I said, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can"
    You live on P? Feel like coming over for shabbat one of these days?

  12. On some of the bridges its worse then the trucks have to back up a mile.

  13. As a kid, I saw this happening all the time by Kings HWY.

  14. sure. i don't live on p (o actually), but it doesn't matter. we walk long distances for shabbat meals, weather permitting. walked across teaneck twice, and once from canal/hudson to ave. o