Friday, November 21, 2008

GIANT ALUMINUM LADDERS: America's Silent Highway Killers

Yesterday afternoon as I drove over the Amboy bridge along the Garden State Parkway I was almost killed as a huge aluminum ladder, not unlike the one pictured above, flew out of the back of a contractor's pickup truck in front of me.

It sailed for a ways before hitting the ground and began tumbling end over end.

Had I been any closer it would have gone right through my windshield.

I was lucky enough to be far enough behind that I had time to change lanes (without looking) before the ladder hit the car.

If you are traveling with items in a pickup truck, please be sure to secure them properly. The life you save may be my own.


Anonymous said...

Hey....vhere did ya go vit dat laddah?


Anonymous said...

So, after the tumbling ladder flew by you, did you have an irresistable urge to go back and retrive it and then balance it on your nose for everyone on the Parkway to enjoy? We could call it the GS Parkway gag!

Anonymous said...

Pat, you could have climbed up the ladder, done a few bits and you would have taken your comedy to a higher level. I was almost killed by a roll of snowfence falling off the back of a state truck on the NJTPK. I had a truck to my right, a truck behind me and a bus to my left. Fortunately, it bounced like a football and ended up bouncing just to my left before missing me. I also had a wheelbarrow fall off a county truck right in front of me as thr truck took off at an intersection. It's amazing what you find alongside a highway--a piece of Beatty-Cole ring curb (1982, Massachusetts), a bundle of the Vidbel big top canvas (2002?)the mechanical stake pounder off the Beatty show (Ocala National Forest 1979), as well as dozens of mattresses, box springs and sheets of plywood that people failed to tie down tightly. Almost as funny as a pants drop, but more dangerous.


Mike Naughton said...

The vast majority of UHAUL trucks are rented to locals who have never driven a truck before.

The vast majority of Penske, Ryder and Budget, 24 ft trucks are rented/leases to companies that have drivers with Commercial Drivers License.

I never drive behind a UHAUL when on the highway.

Did you ever notice how some contractors are neat and professional about loading their pickups at LOWES and then there are the morons that just toss their stuff in the bed because they are late for a job.

Also, I never drive behind a car with a mattress tied to the top, very dangerous when the wind catches underneath it.

Pat, glad you are OK, talk with you soon.

Anonymous said...

So THAT'S where the Vidbel big top went!

Mike Naughton said...

Where was that Vidbel piece found?
I remember Scotty O telling me that the piece got lost somewhere between FL and WI,
Was it ever re-united with Scott?

Anonymous said...

We always said that you could put together a good sized circus with the amount of props and equipment eight-sixed off the Ringling train between the opening in Venice and first engagement in St. Pete. Just lots of stuff the working men didn't want to deal with all season.

Bet if somebody scoured the tracks between those towns, they would find many rusting bubble machines, a rotting elephant blanket or two and who knows what else.

Mark Lavender said...

Pat, first off, glad you're okay.
I got two to share...
Back in 1978 on CBCB, I drove one of the shorter bleacher tractor-trailers. When the bleacher flooring was folded up, the empty space in between was loaded with elephant tubs, hay bales and other assorted flotsam. Old Chevy C60 gasser tractor with *!?%# governor on the carberettor - the trailer had a high center of gravity - scary enough to drive on flat road, even scarier when the pokey tractor was being slammed and pushed faster and faster down a loooong steep hill in Pennsylvania at 1AM by said trailer when the trailer's brakes went kaputt... gee... hadn't thought about that one till reading your ladder story..
On another occasion we were enroute to the nest town. I was on flat road, a 55mph four laner separated by a wide, flat, grassy center median.
I was in the right lane. The water truck passed on my left at a fair clip and eased into the right lane well ahead of me and kept going.
Within a very few moments later, I was passed, on my left by the doniker wagon, a very high center of gravity wagon.... no longer attached to the water truck. “How cool.”
I remember thinking how remarkably well balanced that wagon was considering it was essentially a heating oil tank with upside-down top hat flanges welded to it and topped by toilet seats and closets built over top of it all ... I slowed down a bit and watched fascinated as it rolled past me, straight and true into the center island, coasting gently to an undramatic stop.
All I could think at that moment was, “Good thing they forgot to empty it before leaving the lot.”