We don’t often publish other authors posts but when we hear a story of truck drivers doing great things, we’ll scream it from the rooftop. Once again, thank you truckers for just doing what you do, credit due to all truckers but if anyone reading this was involved, please leave a comment! Gracie Parker thanks you!
Sunday, 11/18/2018, is the 35th anniversary of my wife’s accident …and she wouldn’t be here today without those truck drivers who stopped to help.
On Interstate 40 in west Tennessee, a young woman in a sedan sped past a group of semi trucks on November 18,1983. Maneuvering her car in front of the lead trucker, she stayed a bit out in front of him for a while on the long stretch of highway. Minutes later, however, he noticed something different. Her car started weaving.
Swearing under his breath, he saw her head slump over on the steering wheel. Flashing his lights and honking his horn, he vainly tried to get her attention. Using his CB radio, he alerted the truckers around him of the impending danger. Another trucker pulled into the lane beside him; Together they formed a rolling barricade to keep other vehicles from getting near the now out of control driver—who raced ahead at 70 mph.
Continuing to flash lights and blare horns, they watched helplessly as she veered to the right. Mowing over a roadside marker, she horrifically collided with one of the concrete abutments flanking a bridge. The rear of the car launched into the air and the sedan flipped across the small ravine—slamming the trunk into the other side of the bridge’s supporting wall. The car then tumbled into the creek bed.
Ten semi-truck drivers pulled their rigs over while calling for help on their radios. Grabbing fire extinguishers, they leaped from their cabs and raced down the embankment to the now burning car.
Smothering the flames, they peered into the car to check on the young woman. Jaws tightened for some of them, and a few others grew nauseous at what they witnessed. With her body grotesquely pinned insider the car, blood poured from numerous wounds and multiple compound fractures.
Waiting for paramedics, a few truckers frantically worked to keep her alert by peppering her with questions. Coming in and out of consciousness, she tried answering all their repeated questions and they learned her name was Gracie Parker.
Working furiously to keep her alive and conscious, all assembled assured her of their presence.
“We’re here, Gracie”
“You’re going to be OK.”
“Help is on the way.”
The truckers used unscripted words and phrases that flow when help arrives at the scene of an accident—words of comfort and support to those in trauma.
Within minutes, the screams of ambulances could be heard racing towards the crash site. Paramedics took over and they gingerly extracted Gracie’s broken body from the car. As they made their way up the embankment, the truckers softly called out more supportive words to her. With tears flowing freely down their cheeks, they formed a solemn line.
None of the truckers possessed any formal paramedic training or medical skills. They simply ran to a burning car with fire-extinguishers.
When we see someone trapped in the horrific wrecks and dumpster fires of sin, do we rush to them with fire-extinguishers, or do we add brush to the fire?
I’ve done both.
Hanging my own head, I see where those who rushed into my own wreck(s) were dishonored by my refusal to do the same for others.
Ministry often means rushing to the scene of a wreck. Speaking assuring words requires no seminary or ordination. All that we need to function in those moments are vivid mental pictures of two scarred hands reaching into our trauma.
Those truckers tried to warn and wake her, while protecting others. When the wreck happened, they called for help while running to a burning car to extinguish the flames. They never questioned or judged how she got there, they simply worked to get her to safety. Addressing the immediate priority, the truckers relinquished care to trained professionals.
They couldn’t possibly imagine God’s purposes for Gracie—even when it appeared hopeless or caused them to groan in nausea. They did what they could with what they had—even while tears streamed down their faces.
Gracie lived. She bears deep scars and relentless pain from the accident. But she also brought two children into the world and now has two grandsons. As the purposes God has for her life continue to unfold, no small amount of gratitude is owed to ten truckers who comforted a wounded teen-aged girl bleeding out on the side of the road—to let her know that she wasn’t alone.
Their model of rushing to ministry without judgement stands as a powerful model and legacy. Through every song Gracie sings, and through every prosthetic limb she provides to her fellow amputees, those truckers are still ministering to the wounded …and those who care for them.
Peter Rosenberger is the president of Standing With Hope, the ministry he and his wife, Gracie, founded following the amputation of her legs. Through a prosthetic limb ministry and a nationally syndicated radio program for caregivers, they seek to reach the wounded, and those caring for them. @hope4caregiver
When shopping for a pre-owned heavy- or medium-duty truck, you’ll find plenty of one-year warranty offers. Offering a one-year warranty is fairly standard with the purchase of a pre-owned truck. But International® Used Truck is now offering something unique on qualifying purchases of ISX- and N13-powered pre-owned trucks. It’s a two-year warranty, plus a $2,000 card for preventative maintenance (PM). This offer is only available at any one of 15 International® Used Truck Centers. And this offer ends soon, so summertime just became a better time to buy.
Beyond the $2,000 PM card and two-year warranty offer from International, there’s something more that makes this deal tick: the engines.
International Used Trucks gives you the option of shopping for a 2014–2016 ProStar® or TranStar® with one of two engines: the Cummins® ISX or the Navistar® N13 diesel.
Both engines are rated at 450 hp with multiple torque output. The ISX gives you 1,550/1,750 for the 14.9 liter, and the N13 gives you 1,550/1,700 for the 12.4 liter. There’s only a 50 lb-ft difference between the two engines.
Giving you the choice of an ISX- or N13-powered engine in a ProStar or TranStar is a great start. That means a lot to small-business owner/operators.
Your truck is your livelihood. As a heavy-duty owner/operator, you probably drive loads of up to 44,000 pounds more than 125,000 miles per year. And if you’ve got a lot of miles on your current rig, you’re probably wondering when your old-truck luck will run out. Upgrading to a new pre-owned with a two-year promise of worry-free maintenance sounds like one heck of a deal that is worth serious consideration.
Of course, every deal has to have some limitations, so here are three things to keep in mind when shopping at a participating International dealer:
This sales promotion is right on the money for owners who run a one- or two-truck fleet. After all, as a small-business owner, you probably only have enough capital to buy one truck at a time. And when you do buy, it’s like you’re betting the farm on one vehicle.
You’d like to purchase a brand-spanking new truck. But face it, not everyone has the dough to buy new. So when you think about this deal from International — and add in the two-year engine and aftertreatment warranty, along with the $2,000 card that’s good for two years of preventative maintenance — it feels as though you’re getting something new.
The real deal is the additional peace of mind you’ll get when you hit the road with a powerful ISX or N13 engine, plus the two-year warranty and $2,000 in the PM package. Hey, you deserve two years of worry-free trucking, right?
Check it out for yourself. This offer is only available at any one of 15 International® Used Truck Centers. Call 888-780-3927 for details. This is a limited time offer.
Buying a used Class 8 truck or other commercial rig is a smart way for owner-operators to save money in the early days of their business. While newer models are great for mileage and compliance, they often carry the unfortunate downside of a six-figure price tag. Your truck is the most important investment you’ll make in your business, so it’s wise to approach a used truck dealer with key considerations in mind. Here’s how to buy a good used semi truck that doesn’t break your wallet, or break down on the job.
Owner operators can debate all day on which companies produce the best semi trucks. While the brand is up to you, here are a few rules of thumb:
It may be tempting to throw in your money for the most powerful and best looking rig you can find, but weigh the cost of the individual components against one another first. With a used truck, there’s a slim chance everything will be in excellent working condition, so be prepared to pick your battles. For example, a truck with worn-out brakes or balding tires is a far better investment than a rig with a run-down engine. The latter may look nice upfront, but engine repair is going to be way more expensive than brake pad replacement once the title is in your name.
In addition, your truck is going to be with you a long time, so it’s important to not only find a truck that you want, but one that you need. The type of semi you select can hinge on a number of personal decisions, from the availability of parts in your area, to the distance you’ll be traveling, to the degree of comfort you require in your cab.
Most operators learned to drive on a truck with a manual transmission. A manual transmission is more convenient for the driver, but there are automatic transmission semi trucks available. If you’re in the small category of people who have learned on an automatic, you will want to stick with that kind of transmission.
If you opt for a manual transmission, there are more variables to consider. Find out how many speeds the transmission offers. The higher the speed, the more versatility you’ll have when driving. If you’re new to driving a semi truck, you may not want to choose a higher number of gears. The options afforded by the higher speed count is nice, but it can be difficult to operate if you’re not used to a lower-speed transmission already. Also, unless you’re hauling very heavy loads through the mountains, you probably won’t need the higher speeds.
If you’re doing long hauls, you’ll want a truck with a sleeper cab. The money you’ll save in hotels as well as the added comfort of a sleeping space will be well worth the extra expenditure. If you’re doing primarily short hauls, consider a day cab. The potential savings of a day cab, combined with the improved gas mileage, is enough to give it merit.
A single axle configuration may be all that you need, especially if you’re hauling lighter loads over shorter distances. But for long hauls and heavy loads, expect a smoother ride with tandem axle. A tandem axle configuration will ensure that you are meeting safety standards as well as saving your back from strain.
A style that’s becoming increasingly popular is the “6×2” configuration, or the “dead axle tandem.” There are three axles, tandem style, each with single wheels. Only one of the rear axles is driven, with the other being “dead.” It’s becoming widely accepted that the 6×2 configuration can improve fuel economy, but additionally, many drivers report reductions in weight and maintenance costs, and increased stability. However, tire traction may be lower, so think again about what you’ll be hauling and over what terrain.
When scoping out the engine, use a critical eye, and remember the devil’s in the details — little things can often signify larger problems. First, consider the mileage, because the longevity of your engine depends upon this. If the odometer reads 800,000, know that you could still get 500,000 miles out of it. If it’s tipping toward seven figures, the purchase may only be worthwhile if you’re looking to use the rig for the short term.
During your test drive, step out of the cab and listen to the engine. Ask about anything you hear that seems out of the ordinary. Eye the exhaust for smoke after the engine has had time to heat up — blue or white smoke could mean that the engine is burning oil.
Buying a used semi without checking it out is like buying a house without stepping inside. When you’ve found a truck that catches your eye, you’ll want to engage all of your senses during a test drive to make sure it’s in solid condition — and meets your needs for space and comfort.
Check the odometer to make sure the mileage makes sense for the age of the vehicle. Observe how the semi handles on various terrain. Check the lights, wiring, any corrosion and loss of brake fluid on the brakes. Check the oil, as well. In addition to listening and feeling for anything odd when you’re behind the wheel, ask your representative about:
The truck’s history. Ask the representative or owner what it was used for, and how they acquired it or why they’re selling it (if it’s an independent owner). If a particular semi was used to haul short distances but you’re looking to travel cross-country, it may be a risk to expect it to hold up for your purposes.
The most recent DOT inspection. The representative should be willing and able to provide the most recent inspection papers, so you can review any hidden issues, and possibly use them as a negotiation point later if practical.
Accident records and maintenance records. These, like the DOT inspection, will help you anticipate future problems and parts that may need replacing.
Ask about warranties. Even if there’s no factory warranty for your used truck, a dealer may offer a separate warranty for a certain time period or mileage limit. A stellar warranty pays for itself, since a used vehicle purchase always involves some degree or risk.
Finally, trust your instincts. A truck that doesn’t feel right or a seller who seems unwilling or unable to answer your questions may signify you need to do more shopping around.
Expect a used Class 8 truck to range from $20,000 to $90,000, with the average cost of a class 8 truck in 2015 hovering in the mid $50,000s. When compared to most new rigs that run six figures and above (not to mention the unfortunate truth about how quickly a brand new vehicle depreciates) you’ll be saving a boatload of money upfront if you’re able to purchase a high-quality used truck.
If this is your first time purchasing a used truck, it’s tempting to jump on the most truck you can afford — but think again. As a business owner, the longevity of your trucking business and your career depends on your ability to make choices that benefit the business first. It may be tempting to get the “nicest” or showiest truck your credit will buy, but this would be like a teenager withdrawing their entire Roth IRA to purchase a BMW.
Evaluate your budget first, and purchase a truck based on that. How much can you afford to spend each month and still turn enough of a profit to pay yourself adequately, and keep growing business? If you haven’t already evaluated your fixed and variable expenses, use the OOIDA’s financial worksheet to make estimates, or see an example laid out at The Trucker’s Place. Before you begin meeting with sellers, check with a commercial truck financing company for an idea of how much you can borrow based on how much money you have saved for a down payment and your credit history.
Two of the biggest challenges in financing a used truck are the age of the truck, and the driver’s creditworthiness. According to Rob Misheloff on the Smarter Finance USA blog, lenders are less likely to finance a truck that’s ten years old or more. Furthermore, if a truck is 15 years old, the number of underwriters willing to finance drops by about sixty percent. When you’re looking to finance, search for trucks that fall under the ten year-old mark.
You’ve found the perfect truck, secured financing, signed the papers, and the keys are in your hand. Congratulations! Now, the real work begins: running your business and maintaining your rig. After you’ve purchased your used truck, if all goes smoothly, you’ll want to establish a rapport with your repair shop to keep your vehicle in excellent working condition, and build up your emergency funds.
Something to keep in mind is the possibility of “trading up” once you’ve started turning a profit. Trading a five year-old model up to a two year-old model, for example, can save you significant money on both repairs and fuel — not to mention, it’ll be even easier to trade your commercial truck up in the first place if you don’t wait until it’s bordering on dinosaur status.
Purchasing a used truck is a fantastic exercise in research and discipline. With a discerning eye and commitment to finding a perfect fit, you’re further empowering yourself as an owner-operator, ensuring business success for years to come.