This time of year, it’s long been something of a clarion call among truckers to their fellow drivers to work together to help prevent the kinds of pileups. While truckers can’t control the behavior of the four-wheelers around them, plenty drivers note, better hive-mind situational awareness could play a big part in reducing the severity of wrecks. That awareness is often based on timely info sharing obtained via one particularly hyper-local communication tool most have on board the truck.
““I was yelling on the radio … just before it took place telling you all to spread out because you have a broken-down semi on the shoulder and traffic is coming to a stop,” LeVan wrote in something of a message to his fellow drivers at the time. His CB warning got nary a response in the moment as he passed by. “Get with the program, drivers. There is no excuse for you not to have a CB.”
Among the “once in a while” respondents were a significant percentage of respondents (8 percent overall) who reported sharing road information but rarely hearing a response or reports from other drivers, perhaps more evidence of decline in CB use.
Reader Kenneth Williams has noted he believes “the biggest difference from the old days and now with a CB is in the 1970s there were fewer trucks on the road. And no way to just call for help if you needed help. Even pay phones were only in towns. As a trucker you were on your own, except for other truck drivers. So you made a lot of friends on the road.”
It’s been and remains in some respects an integral part of the the culture of the highway, from the days of impromptu meet-ups at truck stops (“CB coffee breaks,” by some accounts) and other parking lot gatherings to real friendships forged over the airwaves. This tool contributed mightily to quality of life for many.
Along the way, Crawford tells the story of how he got his CB handle. (According to Crawford, like a good nickname, a CB handle meant to last is rarely something you give yourself.) It involves a wild horse named “Norman” from his days on a Colorado ranch decades ago.
As for the present, too many seem to think that the CB is little more than a “prop from a silly movie from the 1970s,” Williams added. For the sake of safety, for camaraderie among drivers, among other things, he said, “truckers need to take back your lives and get rid of the negative talk on the CB. And when you stop at the truck stop, go meet your fellow drivers and make friends. I will see you out there.”