Trucking and death

As winter approaches, driving conditions tend to get worse. Add drivers who are rushed or tired to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass got hit with its first winter storm of the season yesterday. And let me tell you, it was a doozy. Eleven inches of snow fell upon the mountain. That much snow with the added freezing rain and high winds created a deadly combination that left several drivers in trouble.

Heading up the mountain on my way towards Seattle this morning I passed several wrecked trucks and numerous cars stuck in the median. At least four of these trucks haf jackknifed with such force that they completely disintegrated the cab of the truck. One driver had obviously lost control of his brakes on the ice and as he tried to take the emergency truck ramp. He jackknifed upon contact with the soft gravel underneath the ice, forcing his rig completely underneath his trailer and leaving nothing but a crumpled and twisted mass of metal.

Trucking is a dangerous profession. there’s no denying that. A recent USA Today article listed truck driving as number 7 on their 25 top deadliest professions, and Truckers Report has estimated that one in six deaths while on the job are truck drivers.

As truck drivers, we don’t always like to talk about these morbid statistics. Death is a fact we all know and accept, we just don’t want to be constantly reminded. Every day that I am able to get home safe and see my family is a gift from God. I understand there’s always a chance that might not happen, and if that happens – I know my family will be okay.

I have heard plenty of stories about drivers who never made it home again simply because they passed away in their sleep. I know drivers who have had heart attacks while behind the wheel and others who discovered a cancer diagnosis while being thousands of miles away from home. But it’s days like today when I see the wrecks and the lives that are ruined because of them, that I stop and say a little prayer, not just for my safety but for the safety of all of those around me and for the drivers who will never make it home again.

As an Orthodox Christian, death is an interesting part of life. That’s because it’s not really the end. Death is simply the ending of our mortal life and the beginning of our heavenly journey. In fact we don’t even say so and so has died, rather we say this person has fallen asleep in the Lord. Why do we say they are asleep? Because we believe in the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. It’s even in the Nicene Creed: “ I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

It’s this thought of the Resurrection that gives me comfort when I think about my own mortality, and the deadliness of my profession. Within this wonderful ancient faith, death is actually a celebration. Yes we mourn the loss of life and we say memory eternal, but at the same time we celebrate, for we know that death is not the end. Christ himself trampled down death by death… and upon those in the Tomb he bestows everlasting life.

This conviction of faith is so important because without belief in the universal resurrection, how can you have belief in the actual resurrection of Christ? And if Christ did not rise from the tomb, then we all have to live with false teachings.

Lord have mercy.

Remember to be safe this winter and to give plenty of space for other vehicles, especially when conditions turn hazardous. Thank you for continuing to be a part of my orthodox trucker journey and I’ll see you next time.

– Orthodox Trucker

Major truck accident that I witnessed back in January of this year on Snoqualmie pass. There was a car pinned underneath one of the semis in this picture and unfortunately the driver was killed.

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