What I Learned Riding Shotgun - My First Trip in a Big Rig
17 Jan 2018
By Andrew Glad, Communications Intern at Dart
On Tuesday, January 16th, I went on my first ride-along with one of Dart’s most experienced owner operators. Steve Drexler, one of only a few contractors with 30 years of trucking under his belt, was kind enough to have me as his co-pilot for the day. As one of Dart’s new interns, I am very new to the industry so I went into the trip loaded with questions for Steve.
I did not know what to expect going into the day but I was hopeful that the experience would leave me with more knowledge about trucking, drivers and the industry as a whole. Within the first 15 minutes of riding with Steve I was already learning. As a trucking “newbie” the first shocking discovery I came across was the height difference sitting in a tractor versus my Ford Explorer. Just getting in is a whole different process. When drivers say, “You can see everything that goes on in the car next to you,” they aren’t messing around.
During the trip, Steve shared with me his thoughts about some challenges truckers face, changes in the industry over the years and also some laugh-out-loud stories from his experiences. Drivers today face many difficulties that most people do not realize. Did you know it takes almost three football fields for a tractor to come to a stop from highway speeds? With such a long stopping distance, our truckers must be well-trained and alert to react to less than attentive drivers on the road, which Steve did with flying colors.
As someone who has been behind the wheel of a tractor longer than I’ve been alive, Steve has seen many changes in the industry over the years. From extending trailers to 53 feet to having tractors equipped with new electronic log systems, Drexler has adapted to each change and been through it all.
Being able to pick his brain about his profession and the industry was an amazing experience. I would like to thank Steve Drexler for his many years of loyalty to Dart and for taking me a on a mini road trip for the day. To the average person it would seem that maneuvering a 53 foot loaded trailer in a very compact space is comparable to rocket science. For Steve it was just another day. Thanks again!