Dr. Tim Ridley
A Watchful Eye
As truck drivers, you’re always keeping a watchful eye on someone or something as you
travel from point A to point B.
Let’s take the “trucking seasons” for instance. Most truck drivers agree that we have two
seasons - winter and construction. Winter means watching for possible snow storms,
icy bridges, and the dreaded black ice! Then there’s construction that starts full bloom in
spring and goes through the summer months. Yes, slowing down and watching for
construction workers who are sometimes working close to the travel lane. Then there’s
traffic congestion and watching for the motorists trying to make it to the front of
the line as the lane ends.
There’s also another season that’s sometimes overlooked: September. Let’s take a look at
September - school is now in session, and after a summer of no school zones and watching
for the little ones (as well as the big ones), we sometimes get complacent in keeping a
watchful eye on the kids. We must get our minds focused on keeping a watchful eye as we
maneuver through the towns and cities.
According to reports, 57 million children travel daily to and from school in America, either
walking, biking, taking the bus, or being dropped off. Traffic accidents are the leading
cause of injuries/death for school-aged children. It's more common for a child to be struck by a vehicle in a school safety zone than any other location.
Many years ago, I loaded a load of M&M Mars out of Albany, GA, bound for Chicago. The
trailer was preloaded when I arrived that morning. After doing my drop
and hook and safety check, I left the lot and started my journey back to the main highway.
As I approached a traffic light in town - which was in a school zone - I noticed a group of what
looked to be middle school aged kids on the sidewalk on my right, just a few yards from the
Keeping a watchful eye, I monitored the kids periodically in my mirror as I waited for
the light to turn green. We all know how boys can be, especially after a “double dog dare!”
I’m assuming it was that type of dare that I witnessed as I checked my right mirror once
again after the light turned green, before taking off. I noticed the number of kids I
previously saw had dwindled. I was totally startled when I saw a few kids come walking from
underneath my trailer. Thankfully, I didn’t take off until I first checked my mirror to see
where those kids were!
Keeping a watchful eye goes beyond the interstates, beyond the highways, and even beyond
the city streets. Keeping a watchful eye includes the sidewalks as well. Please be careful.
Photo by Jonas Elia on Unsplash