Complacency Almost Killed Me!

I’ll never forget it, it was the perfect day for driving. A beautiful sun was overhead, fresh spring air out of my window, dry roads, and nothing but flat land highway with no four wheelers bouncing around like ping pong balls. For a professional truck driver the conditions couldn’t get any better, my truck was clean and I was feeling good. I was west of Chicago on my way to Nebraska and things were good. It was almost to the point where it was getting boring and my mind was starting to drift into that complacency mode where it needed a wake up. That being said, I was thinking of a cup of coffee, not the situation that happened. I was just cruising along at 55 mph when over the C.B. radio I heard the words “Here he comes!” I looked to the left and saw a car spinning out of control through the median from the other side of the highway towards me. The car had been cut off by another passing driver and had lost control. As I quickly evaluated the situation I realized we were going to hit head on if I kept going on the same path because the car was aiming straight across both lanes of ahead of me. I locked up the brakes sending smoke from the tires surrounding my rig and started to steer toward the left lane of the highway. The car coming through the median managed to stop in the right hand lane of the highway on my side. As the traffic on the highway came to a stop and the smoke cleared I rushed out of the truck to see how we ended up expecting to see much damage from the situation. As I came around the front of the truck, the driver of the car began to thank me repeatedly, “Thank you, thank you” he kept saying. His vehicle had stopped 2 inches from the fuel tank on the right hand side of my truck. Had he hit my fuel tank  the situation would have been quite different. That car was filled with a family of four going on vacation.

That happened 20 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. The reason I write about it is many people get into that mode of complacency on a regular basis. Evaluating your conditions, that includes your mindset at the time regularly can be the key between an incident or not. Keeping fresh in your job, your life, and your processes will make the difference between being a statistic and being successful. Complacency almost killed me don’t let it kill you!

For information on programs for your team on complcency visit the presentations page on the Outridge Consulting Service’s website at

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