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Diesel Ditches

April 22, 2013 - Michael Palmer
You know those depressions made by heavy trucks that form little water ways just at the proper intervals to cause your vehicle to hydroplane, I call them diesel ditches.

With the increase in truck traffic on Harrison County roads, these diesel ditches are reaching depths where they would roll over your shoe tops. Which makes driving hazardous, especially when the culprits responsible for the excess water levels are coming at you in the opposite lane.

One other bonus is the rooster tails being thrown from the tires of passing vehicles as they traverse the watery routes. The sudden blast of what seems like 200 gallons of spray blinds you as your windshield wipers become submerged in the flood waters.

Drivers safety articles suggest drivers slow down when roads are wet: because the faster you drive, the harder it is for your tires to scatter the water.

I do not see a lot of drivers following this guideline.

Another problem I have encountered is left of center driving. Not just during rain showers, but on clear and cloudless days. My wife is going to Texas to visit my niece this weekend, so I am asking that she measure the width of the lanes for traffic in Texas. It is said that everything is bigger in Texas and so it might be that the traffic lanes in Ohio are narrower than back home. I am not specifically blaming Texas oil well workers, but several of the violators have been pick up trucks with Texas plates.

The loads of gravel and semis not making the turns on their side of the highway are another story. That is just plain lack of regard for the other guy. I fear that it is just a matter of time before there is a fatality and the whole issue jumps into the limelight of public debate.

I recall one trip to Cadiz as a young boy when two coal trucks were coming side-by-side around the curve on 250 at Heavilin's driveway. My Dad had the presence of mind and quick reactions to put our Rambler station wagon into the ditch and through some barbed wire, or else you might be reading someone else's blog. I illustrate this moment in history to reference the problem as being nothing new. As long as there are incentives to make more runs and haul the loads faster, some truckers will over load and drive over the “safe” speed limit to make the extra dollars.

Call the cops you say. The local law enforcement officials are already facing the monumental task of policing the laundry list of new problems that have come to the area with the shale boom. They have further stretched their already overworked staff and underfunded budgets. So, what is the solution?

The companies drilling and hauling all say they are monitoring for violations and profess to welcome our help in reporting any violations.

Did you get the number on that truck? An old punch line, but quite appropriate as with all of the steering, braking, dodging 18 wheels and the trees and poles that inevitably come popping up out of the ground at high speed, who has the time? Sure, you could whip it around in a 180 and chase the truck down, but who has that kind of time, and it usually requires you breaking some traffic laws to get caught up.

Logically, most of the drivers are going to be safety minded, but the few who are not, they will continue to be a problem,

Now that I have complained about the fleet of white pickups who go too fast, should I cover the super loads that are going too slow and blocking the roads?


Article Comments



Apr-22-13 11:38 PM

Be thankful you are driving, have a vehicle, and are a talented writer and photographer.


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