It’s Time, Gentlemen, Time

Frank Milne: Retired Driver, Lease operator and company owner
Posted By Frank Milne: Retired Driver, Lease operator and company owner On 2022-07-11 22:15:21

We have all heard that statement just before the bar closes. It means it’s time for you to go.

As I look back on my driving career, I reflect on what I have done. Driving the truck was only really part of it – it was what was behind the truck that was a big part of it. First, it was the flat deck and what was on it, how to tie it down, tarping it and just plain how to load whatever it was in the first place. Then there was the low bedding. You often had to know how to operate the machine you were to transport as there was not always an operator there. Then it was – do you load it on the side of the low bed or over the tail end – do you back it on or drive it forwards? Then comes the most important part: how to chain it down.

How about reefers, tankers, furniture haulers, car carriers – all specialized commodities to be transported. The knowledge of what was behind the truck was just as important as driving the truck. Thinking back a long time ago, I remember when I would jump off the deck of a trailer, land on the ground and start walking. Now I sit on the deck, roll over onto my stomach and lower myself gently to the ground. Have I got smarter and looking after my knees and hips better? No, I’m getting older and can’t do it anymore.

A long time ago, under dry road conditions, I used to go around an 80km corner at 100km and felt comfortable doing it. Now I take that same corner at 90km and feel comfortable. Have I become a safer driver? No, I’m getting older and can’t do it anymore.

I can remember checking my slack adjuster and tires in about 5 minutes. Now it takes me over 10 minutes to do the same thing. Am I getting more careful? No, I’m getting older and slower and can’t do it anymore.

I used to do a lot of things that take longer to do now that I am older. So it’s time for me to realize that I’m not as capable as I was in my younger years.

The last time I used my class 1 licence was when I drove my 1996 Classic Freightliner and a 53-foot trailer from Vancouver to Yuma, AZ, and returned. That was three years ago, and I no longer have them.

That said, I am now 84 years old and still have my class 1 licence (1 – 6 with air endorsement – yes, I have a motorcycle licence too that I haven’t used in 35 years!) I’m going to be 85 this September and have decided not to go for my medical – therefore, I’m giving up my class 1 status. In my mind, it is better to give it up than to have them take it from me.

I know that I could pass the medical and keep my class 1 – but as the heading of this article says, “It’s Time, Gentlemen, Time.” So it’s time for me to go.

P.S. You haven’t heard the last of me; I will write some more articles for this magazine, and hopefully, you will enjoy them.

P.P.S. Why do they call it the “Golden Years” when your hair turns silver?

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