Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

Beating Certain Death


Since my blog is still down, and Michelle already shared her thoughts on the move, I figured I’d share my experience of driving the truck here.

It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s not even for the strong of heart. I’d not recommend doing what I did to my worst enemy, and I’m surprised that U-Haul doesn’t require some quick training before handing over those enormous trucks to unsuspecting customers.

The truck was so top-heavy and back-heavy that even the smallest imperfection in the road caused the cab to bounce up and down at least 3″ to 6″. On several occassions – our dog was asleep next to me – the bouncing was so bad it actually lifted him off the seat into the air causing one panicked dog. Because I was back-heavy, the front wheels weren’t exactly hitting the pavement heavily which made steering a constant battle of preventing the truck from drifting off the side of the road. A few times when bad road conditions caused me to bounce, I was certain I was done for because, for a few moments of pure terror, I couldn’t stop the truck from drifting.

However, even when I was able to gain control again, the fun wasn’t over because I then had to jerk the truck back onto the road, and, because I was so top-heavy, it made the truck lean very precariously and seemed like it would tip over. Luckily, I was so far behind Michelle, she never saw any of this happen.

The one time when I truly thought I was going to find out what happens when we die was when I hit Tennessee. One stretch of highway is being paved over with asphalt, but the road crews only have one lane paved. But not the whole lane, perhaps about 3/4 of it, and then the asphalt stops causing this seemingly innocuous 4″ ridge in the road. Never had a problem with my truck, but this monster had a trick up its sleeve.

The rear wheels are double on each side with an inch or two gap in between them. Well, my right rear wheels split this asphalt ridge perfectly which caused the entire truck to violently veer uncontrollably into the right lane of traffic. I’d say I swerved about 6′ to the right before I was able to stop it and get it going left again so that I didn’t slam into other vehicles. Well, this happened three times before people to my right realized that their lives were in imminent danger as well and backed off allowing me to get into the right lane.

From that moment on (about 25 miles to the new apartment), I didn’t go over 50 mph. My adrenaline was pumping overtime, and I came to the decision that I’d rather arrive 30-40 minutes late than experience the interesting, but frightening event watching the truck drive into a cliff wall, into a ditch or into another vehicle.

posted under family, travel
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“Beating Certain Death”

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