Big rigs deserve your patience
By Jennifer M. Latzke
Hey there, white Toyota Camry with the Missouri tags! Yeah, you there, the one who just whizzed around me in the white pickup and the large grain truck ahead of me on the highway. You blew our doors off just us as I was slowing down to allow that grain semi in front of me room to safely turn from a blind corner on the road into a field outside of Lyons, Kan., on Oct. 26.
You, sir, are a world class, A-1 jerk. You could have caused a horrible accident, all because you were in too big of a hurry to slow down and let the larger vehicle have the roadway for two whole minutes.
What if there had been oncoming traffic as you were passing us? Could you have avoided a collision as you were balancing your phone and fiddling with the radio? Your haste and impatience put three vehicles and their riders in jeopardy, with potentially a fourth or fifth involved if there had been traffic.
Could you have lived with yourself if you had caused that accident?
Look, I know that you might be more accustomed to driving on multiple lanes in Kansas City and that you probably have no idea why that truck was turning into a field in the first place. But you’re in the country now. And we have different traffic hazards depending on the season. You’re going to have to adapt.
It’s fall harvest, and that means we’ll have large convoys of large equipment moving from field to field. We’ll have large semis loaded with grain that are going to need even more room to stop and maneuver. We’ll have tired and maybe even teenage drivers helping their families get the crops in from the field.
It’s just the way it is.
I get it. I do. You have places to go, people to see, things to do. You’re some big, important hot shot who couldn’t care less about farms, farmers, or whatever crop is being brought in from the field.
Newsflash—we all have places to go, people to see, things to do. You’re not special. And that farmer bringing in that crop from the field has an important role to play in the economic stability of that town of Lyons, Rice County and the state of Kansas.
Say you had caused an accident. Beyond the potential risk to the humans involved in the collision, there would have also been lost time for that farmer harvesting that crop. If he can’t bring in his corn or sorghum on time, it trickles down to the banker who holds his note, the elevator that stores and markets his grain, the grocery store in town where he shops, the tax base of the county and even the school district where his children attend.
I think that trumps your need for speed.
I hope you heard my horn and it shocked you into realizing that you had done a boneheaded move. I’m pretty sure the semi driver might have saluted you with one particular digit, and frankly you earned it. And, if I hadn’t been so shocked at your actions, I would have reported your tag number to the sheriff.
Yeah, what you did was that serious.
I hope the next time you crawl behind the wheel and you decide to venture into the countryside, you take a lesson from this. Those large rigs that are lumbering along hauling grain, or livestock, or equipment, they are driven by people just trying to make a living. They deserve your patience. They deserve your respect for their safety.
So, slow down and give them space. Sip your coffee and listen to the radio. Relax.
Do that and we’ll all get to where we’re going in one piece.
Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached by phone at 620-227-1807 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.