7. Luck on my side?
Most truckers that have been in an accident will tell you that they don't know what happened. They don't remember the immediate lead up to the actual crash. I can say the same thing. In 1977, I jacknifed on the west bound 91 freeway at Bellflower off ramp north of Long Beach, Ca.
It was raining, noontime, medium traffic. At that time, I had 1 year experience in a truck. I was driving a single axle cabover pulling a 2 axle endump, empty. Ahead of me, I noticed traffic slowing. At that point, a 4 wheeler directly in front of me hit his brakes and I in turn, hit mine and the slipping and sliding started. Weeeee, was that fun.
When I finally stopped, the tractor was pointed east bound and I was blocking 3 lanes. The 4 wheeler drove merrily on his way. The stopped traffic was still 1/2 mile ahead.
I got out and noticed 2 cars had collided behind me and another 18 wheeler had rear ended a 4 wheeler. I immediately hooked up my air lines, which had popped off, and got the truck/trailer pointed in the right direction and maneuvered into the center divide shoulder to open up the lanes.
Everybody else was able to get to the right shoulder to assess the damage. Thankfully, there were no injuries.
Now the lucky part. A cop shows up to the other folks involved over on the right shoulder to do paper work. I'm sitting in my truck in the passenger seat, remember it's raining, and the lanes are open, so traffic is again moving meaning I cannot just walk across the freeway to show my license etc. The 18 wheeler had to be towed as did two 4 wheelers. I was directly across the freeway, so I could see exactly what was happening. I figured that the cop would finish up on the right shoulder and then somehow get to me to take my info.
All I could think about was, I'm sunk. Surely they will say it's my fault, I caused the accident. I'll be paying until I'm 60 years old. Did I get lucky! After the cop finished up and everyone was towed and or left, he went west on the 91 and I figured he was turning around at the next off ramp and returning to get my info. I sat there for an hour and he never came. Absolutely the strangest thing that ever happened to me.
I left, but did have to deal with my company and there was damage to the tractor. I did not lose my job and did not get any violations on my license.
Call me lucky.