« Ogden Nash: Good Intentions | Main | »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

We used to live around the corner from a place where trucks had the opposite problem. There were train tracks that ran between two roads and were level with the road on one side and elevated about 10' above the road on the other side. There were signs on all four sides of the intersection that showed trucks getting lodged on the tracks, but every so often, somebody thought they could do it.


I remember my father, who at the time worked for a company that shipped things constantly, sometimes quite large things, shaking his head about "truck drivers and airplane pilots."

I must admit I experience what they call Schadenfreude when I see a truck in that position. I live in terror of trucks when I drive on the motorway. When they speed past me in fog and in rain, I cannot see anything for several moments. When they speed past in a high wind (today 25 mph outside Chicago) I think I'm going to be blown off the road. When they honk ... When they nudge me off to the side of the road... Yes, I love to see those guys stuck in a tunnel.

I suspect sometimes they drive on "autopilot", without really taking in the warning signs. I've seen the same in Belgium with tunnels and bridges, particularly with Spanish lorry drivers for some reason. They don't seem to think to stop until something goes crunch. Or perhaps they think the warning signs have broad estimates of the maximum height, and they might just make it?

Yes, maybe they're thinking "Suggested maximum" and figure there's a little room for hope.

That's funny, Grumpy. I can sympathize when I think of a couple of unpleasant truck encounters I've had over the years, including one that could very easily have gotten me and my whole family killed. But really, my experience is that the vast vast majority of them are driven very safely, and I've had a lot of occasion to observe them over 20 years of commuting 60 miles a day.

And re autopilot: that's definitely a factor sometimes. I once saw one come flying toward a red light at high speed, and when he finally noticed it and hit his brakes he burned so much rubber that you could hardly see the truck. In this particular tunnel situation, though, they can't really have been that oblivious--it's in the middle of town and they've just passed through a stop light at the previous block. Luckily for all concerned they probably can't get up to more than 30mph or so as they come to it.

"Suggested Maximum" - LOL!

I would hope that any particular truck driver would only do this once!

But I'm with Grumpy: it makes me sort of happy to see those pictures. I've done too much highway driving in winter storms where those big trucks are a menace: to see them lodged snugly under a bridge is excellent.

My suspicion would be that they took a gamble because they were behind schedule.

My sister around about 1977 visiting a commercial establishment near East Rochester, New York and heard a tremendous crunching metal noise. She looked out the display window and saw a heavy truck stuck under a nearby railway overpass, with its roof all crunched up like an accordion. One of the staff told her, the painted warnings and dimensions on the overpass notwithstanding, that this happened about once every six months. You had this 18 wheeler driving through an ordinary suburban commercial district.

One a year is not that many when you consider the amount of truck traffic you see every day.

I did have an 18-wheeler drive me right off the road once. I'm glad there was a big shoulder. I'm hoping the drivers that get stuck under the overpasses and tunnels are the same ones that endanger people's lives and not the courteous ones. I expect that this is the case.


Most likely. And I do imagine that any particular truck driver only does it once, at least for that particular employer. One of my wife's uncles was a truck driver, and he related a story, of which I unfortunately don't remember enough to tell, in which he wrecked a truck entirely through his own fault. That was the end of his employment with that company. He was probably one of those who endangers people and gets his truck stuck under a bridge--not malicious, but irresponsible.

Once a year is sort of high, relative to the amount of traffic, in this particular situation, because it's downtown Mobile and there really isn't that much truck traffic there. Unless they're actually making a delivery in that area, they can stay on the nearby interstate highway.

Winter storms are a different matter. They can't really help the fact that they're throwing up a huge spray of snow and junk. But if on top of that they're driving fast, crowding people, etc., then yeah, that's evil.

But anyway, I agree that it is very pleasant to imagine a specific obnoxious driver with his truck jammed under an overpass or tunnel entrance.

Big trucks just plain scare me on the road, whether or not their drivers are responsible and courteous.

There's a section of the New Jersey Turnpike that splits into four lanes: two just for cars and two for cars, trucks, and buses. I always chose one of the lanes just for cars, of course!

Anyway, what a great idea. But guess it's too expensive to do everywhere.

I like the combination of Why Do They Keep Doing It, and Good Intentions, too.


I'm glad Craig and Marianne agree. I've been driving since March now, and I've finally got 5,000 miles on the clock and a free checkup for my car. If I was the only one who wanted to faint from fear when a truck overtakes me on a bridge in the rain, I would just put it all down to sheer cowardice. Sometimes I do tell myself, 'Aristotle say, we become brave by doing brave things'. So I zoom up to 70, get into the fast line, and overcome my terror in driving past them. Within ten minutes they are bound to overtake me. They cannot stomach being overtaken by a tiny little red Toyota Yaris.

I am quite sure it is the same impatient so and sos who drive us off to the side of the road at 70 miles an hour and who get stuck under a bridge.

"I'm taking little white pills and my eyes are open wide." Those are the ones we should be scared of. Unfortunately they don't identify themselves.

And that is very intrepid, by the way.

That's a great song. I wish I knew so many songs! If I feel like listening to a song, I listen to Eric Shelman.

I sometimes kind of half wish I didn't, because it seems that they're occupying space in my memory that could be put to better use. I last heard that song in 1965 or so when it was on the radio, and yet I could have quoted half the lyrics.

Who is Eric Shelman?

put it into youtube/google. He's a karoke singer. I used to google him from time to time to listen to him sing Brown Eyed Girl. Now he has a whole web page with about 200 songs. It sounds absurd, but on this little laptop I have at home, I can only open one window at a time. Otherwise I would send you the link.

Well, that was interesting. He's pretty good, for karaoke. But why would you listen to him instead of Van Morrison? Or in the case of the song I just listened to, Del Shannon?

Two (radically unrelated) questions:

1. Do truck drivers ever stop and let air out of their tires in close-call clearance questions like the one at least one of your pictures documents? I remember my father telling me about that practice once years ago when I asked him about the height notice on an overpass we drove under.

2. Is that Bankhead as in Tallulah?

About the first question, I don't know. I suppose it would work if you only needed a few inches, and didn't deflate them to the point of being completely flat and probably ruined by being driven on. But how would they re-inflate them? That's a lot of big tires.

About the second, no, her granddaddy, Senator John H.

imitation is enjoyable in and of itself - somewhat like repetition. Why do you laugh when something happens a second or third time in the same way?

Depends...karaoke singers mainly just make me slightly uneasy, even if they're pretty good. I guess I'm on edge waiting for the disaster.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)