Truckers Share the Most Bizarre Thing They Ever Experienced on the Road
Driving for long distances without many breaks isn't an easy thing to do, especially if you have to do it for up to 70 hours a week. When you’re a trucker, you might drive from one side of the country to the other in a matter of days, so it’s no surprise that you see some of the most bizarre stuff the country has to offer. Even if you’re not a trucker, some of these behind-the-scenes trucker stories may leave you feeling just a little less comfortable on the road.
On a long drive I accompanied my mom on, we saw a man standing on the concrete divider at about 10 p.m. It was fall, so it was dark out and pouring rain. He was dressed as a jester, and it was on a stretch of poorly lit highway. She flinched and asked if I saw it. I said that I did, and we watched as he walked slowly along the divider with his arms out a little to the sides. She pulled over because she was freaking out so bad, and he started doing weird stuff — cartwheels and handstands and stuff. It was the weirdest thing ever.
The Stuff of Nightmares
My uncle was a truck driver for many years. He spent several years doing cross country trips, often loading up his trailer in the middle of the night. While he waited for his trailer to be loaded, he’d make his way over to a nearby truck stop, have a late night meal and chat with any other drivers there. After a while, he would make friends with drivers that were on a somewhat similar schedule. He befriended this particular guy that he would run into about once a month. He said this guy was massive, a huge guy. My uncle is kind of a wise guy who can get annoying really quickly. He said this was the one guy he knew that when he crossed the line and agitated him, it was time to go. Anyway, he ran into this guy every so often, and they chatted to kill time while their semi-trucks were getting loaded up.
One night, the guy invited him back to his semi to show him something he’d built. This guy’s semi had a sleeper on the back, so it was pretty big. Once they were in the truck, the guy showed him what he built in the sleeper of his semi. It was a big heavy-duty box. Apparently, it had hydraulic arms on either side, so he could open and close it with the push of a button. He said once he pushed the button, it sealed shut and couldn't be opened. My uncle was kind of weirded out by this and cracked a few jokes about the box. The guy started to get a little agitated. My uncle realized this and decided it was time to leave the semi.
A few months later, he found out that the guy was stuffing people at truck stops into this custom hydraulic box. “That guy was massive,” he said. “His hand could cover most of my head. He could’ve stuffed me in the box, and there’s nothing I could’ve done to stop him — or maybe there was someone in there already!” He said he still has nightmares about it years later.
The Banana Disaster
I was a young truck driver tooling down a long hill near Scranton, hauling 30,000 pounds of bananas. I missed a sign that I should have read to shift to a lower gear, so I lost my brakes and flew down the hill. I sideswiped 19 parked cars, clipped 13 telephone poles, hit two houses, bruised eight trees and finally crashed, spilling the 30,000 pounds of bananas all over the road. Just imagine what 30,000 pounds of bananas looks like.
There’s a route that cuts across the southwest corner of South Dakota, sort of a shortest route from I-90 to I-80. I was driving through one winter right into a blizzard. It was pretty hairy, I guess, because the roads were closed. Highway patrol made us park in the lot of some local convenience store. The next day, the sun is shining bright, and the roads are clear.
I’m on my way, and as I drive, I start to notice these large dark, rock-like shapes sticking out of the snow just off the shoulder of the road. There were tons of them, like one every 10-15 feet. “Strange,” I thought absently. I’d never been on that road, so who knows what they could be. After a few minutes, I spotted one that was not-so-buried in the snow, and the realization sank slowly into me. They were cows. I drove past probably 40 corpses just off the side of the road, literally just past the shoulder. It made me so sad to think they all froze to death, wandering blindly in the snowstorm.
Every Trucker Has a Soft Spot
A friend’s brother was a trucker. He had a car drive up next to him and throw a pillowcase in front of his truck. Thinking there might be something in it that would pop his tires (apparently this happens somewhat regularly), he avoided it and pulled over to remove it from the road, so it wouldn't cause any accidents. Turns out it was full of kittens. All of them survived, and he actually kept a kitten, and it became his travel buddy for the remainder of his trucking career.
Now He’s Riding Solo
Coming out of our Washington state terminal, I was asked to take one of our drivers to Southern California. It wasn't a big deal. I’ve done it before. He seemed very normal, cheerful and a delightful person to keep you company while talking your ear off. However, this all changed once the sun went down. The driver turned to me and said, “Hey, can you pull over for a sec? I need to ward off the snake people.”
My brain didn’t quite process this, and I said, “What?” He repeated the same line, and here’s where my Spidey Sense told me if this guy didn’t ward off his snake people, I was going to have a bigger problem than this guy’s cookie getting flipped. So, I pulled over, and he got out. Now, here comes the weird part. He did this dance in front of my headlights. All I can say is he certainly did his snake warding dance.
Now, here’s my dilemma. This guy obviously was a few fries short of a Happy Meal, but I was asked to drive him to Southern California. Unfortunately, I thought too long about this, and the guy was sitting again next to me in the passenger seat as though nothing had happened. I drove 1,200 miles without stopping, and the driver got to his new truck in Southern California. I never gave another person I didn't know a lift — ever.
The Consequences of Stealing
My dad drove a long haul for years. One company he worked for had a yard right in the city. One night a sketchy person tried to steal material from a stack in the yard, and he pulled the wrong piece. The entire stack came down and decapitated him, and they found his body the next morning.
The Silent Passenger
One of the guys at the company I work at got into a lot of trouble because he had a blow up doll in the passenger seat — buckled in and everything.
I left from around Austin and drove up to just north of Amarillo to drop some cattle at a feed lot — about a 600-mile trip. I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to turn around and head on back to the cattle company instead of taking my break. I called dispatch, and he gave me a sale barn to go pick up and bring back to the company. When I got back, I was pretty worn out, but they told me that a truck had broken down headed to Texarkana, and he needed me to go and get the cattle. I thought sure, I can do this.
I made it about an hour from Texarkana and was on a little two-lane Texas back-road, talking to a friend of mine on the phone to try and stay awake when I fell asleep. I remember hearing my friend yelling my name and waking up to find myself off in the grass with a cowboy on a horse right in front of me, roping a calf. He roped it, dallied off and turned to face me. Just as I hit him, he disappeared.
It was a hallucination. It scared me so badly, I was wide awake the rest of the trip.
Riding in Style
I stopped for a refill of my coffee in Quebec. I backed into a spot, and in front of me was a livestock hauler. Well, they stopped and opened the back and out came one goat. A 53-foot trailer was hired to transport one goat for 600 miles.
The goat was really cute, and they had taken him out to play with him. Yes, I got to play with him as well.
A Bad Feeling
I once noticed a man standing on a bridge that I went under while on the highway. I took notice of him because he wasn’t walking. He was just standing there looking down at the highway, and I swear he was looking at me. I wasn't far from my destination, so it wasn’t long before I came back by that same bridge going the other direction. Sure enough, he had jumped. It messed with my head for a while.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep in the Driver’s Seat
My dad told me a story about one time when he was sleeping at a truck stop. He didn’t have a sleeper, so he was in the driver's seat. Another trucker was pulling up to spend the night, so the trucks were nose to nose. He woke up in the driver’s seat of his truck with a truck with its lights on looking like it was coming at him head on. He said he almost pooped himself.
Women and Children First
In high school, we had a class called career seminars, where we got to listen to people tell stories about their jobs. One day, a truck driver was telling us how he struck a car, and the occupant passed away. We asked what made him decide to stay on the road, instead of swerving. “If I can see into the car, I look to see if there’s a family, children. If there’s not, I’m not gonna swerve off the road for one guy.”
So, obviously, I work in an office and stay away from semis.
Government Classified Delivery Area
My mom made a delivery to Area 51. She doesn’t know what she delivered, and she wasn’t allowed to look inside the trailer. When she got there, she asked to use the bathroom, and everybody got all serious and started whispering. They finally agreed to take her but with an armed guard who waited with her inside the bathroom. She thought it was so cool.
Road Rage Will Kill You
I was making my way through Ashland, Virginia, when a frustrated driver overtakes me, and in his manic state, he swerves his car into my lane. He jerks the wheel so hard, the back wheels came around, and I watched this guy flip at least six times through the air.
Miraculously, the driver walked away, although he was shaken up, as one would imagine. His car was a ball of scrap metal torn to pieces. Every time I go through that area, I get flashbacks of that night.
An Overreaction, Perhaps
A friend of my dad’s was stuck on a bridge in a traffic jam and noticed there was a couple in the car beside him that looked like they were arguing. The guy got out and jumped off the bridge — into boulders, not water.
Fur Company Is the Best Company
I worked in a toll booth in the summers during college, and you’d be surprised how many cats I saw in the cabs of trucks. Some guys had those little cat hammocks hanging from the ceiling and everything.
When the Mob Gets Involved
During Prohibition, while making a big delivery to Chicago, my grandpa got stopped by a bunch of gangsters in the city. They held him at gunpoint while they made sure he wasn’t hauling anything prohibited. When they confirmed it was just produce, he was allowed to go on his way. It turned out they were Al Capone’s men.
Expert Truck Mods
A friend of mine used to work at a truck stop garage. Truckers would come in and get things repaired, oil changes, trucks washed, etc. Some guys had a truck that they had cut a hole in the floor, so they could poop without stopping for bathroom breaks. There was poop all underneath the truck. They wanted an oil change. He said no and told his boss they needed to take it to the truck wash.
Trouble with the National Bird
I was a dispatcher, not a driver. One of my drivers called in a few months ago because he hit a bald eagle with his truck. He sent me a picture, and he was running two hours behind schedule because he had to call the cops about it. This was in Georgia. I didn’t even realize they were around there.
Freelance Elephant Herder
My dad once saw an elephant that had escaped from a wrecked trailer in the middle of the road. The elephant and driver were both injured, but I don’t remember how. Having worked with large herd animals for 35 years, my dad felt it was his duty to “herd” the panicked elephant off the road, for the safety of the elephant as well as other drivers. It was scared and making a lot of loud noises and making small charges at him as he tried to direct it off the road. He said he almost wet himself out of fear.
Gold on the Go
My dad was a truck driver. This one time, he was at a truck stop, and this guy kept trying to get my dad to buy gold necklaces from him. My dad didn’t want to buy anything, but he wasn’t convinced that the guy didn’t have a weapon. They were in the parking lot, at my dad’s truck. I think my dad just threw the guy some money, and the guy threw the necklaces in the truck. We still have the necklaces, but we're not sure they weren’t stolen.
A Nasty Surprise
I saw a coiled up football scarf on the ground at a service station in the U.K. It was a German team, and I thought to myself that it was a bit odd to be there. I went over and tried to pick it up, and wrapped up inside was the biggest poop I’ve ever seen. I got right out of there, and I'm now suspicious of the diets of most German football fans I meet.
When to Say No
I pulled over to stay the night near the Arizona welcome center on I-40. I hear a light knocking on my door. An old lady wearing nothing but an oversized sweatshirt is standing outside. I roll down my window and ask what’s up. In the tiniest, creepiest little voice, she says that there’s something in her car making a weird noise and that she needs help with it. I didn’t help her.
You’ve Got Company
I stopped at a rest stop around 4 a.m. outside of Chicago. There must have been at least 20 toilets in the place, if not more. I’m the only guy doing my duty in this gigantic room of toilets, and about a minute later, someone else comes in, sits in the stall right next to mine and starts tapping his foot rhythmically.
I still have some denial, but I think the guy wanted something from me.
Spontaneous Stunt Man
I’m not a truck driver, but I felt bad for the person who was. I was going down a steep hill on my bike, and I fell off and skidded underneath an oncoming logging truck. I just laid down on the pavement and hoped for the best. I got back up just fine and found my bike and everything, but I never saw the guy again.
No News Is Good News
I had stopped for the night at a small truck stop just outside Phoenix. Early in the morning, I awoke with a deep fear, feeling that someone was being attacked or had been attacked or was buried just beyond the truck stop. I was in such fear that I threw on my clothes and got out of that truck stop as fast as I could. A day or so later, I stopped at that truck stop again to scan a local paper — in the bright daylight, mind you. Nothing was in the paper about an attack or anybody being found. I have never had that feeling before or since. This took place in the late 80s.
Can Roadkill Also Be Dinner?
I’m not a trucker, but on my drive home from college, I saw a semi truck hit a flying turkey going 70 mph. The little guy exploded in a puff of feathers and was thrown 100 feet into the ditch.
Just in Case You Decide to Go Swimming
I had a trailer tire flat in Florida one time, and this little wiry guy came to change it. He had like a 10-foot long pole that he used for leverage to get the lugs off. He stuck that pole on the tire iron, jumped up on that sucker and rode it down — over and over. Then, the other way after changing the tire to get the lugs back on. When he was done, he tried to sell me a bathing suit out of the back of his pickup.
I was running on Kansas Highway 96 out of Great Bend. Dawn was just peeking over the horizon back to the east. I rounded the curve out of town heading west when I see Bambi and the gang crossing the road. There must have been about 12 or more of them. I get up in the middle of the road and lay on the air horn. They stop crossing, but they all start running along on both sides of the road in the direction I’m going. I get back on the throttle, and just as I come up on the group, I see two of the deer on the north side deciding they now want to join the group on the south side.
My reflexes kicked in, and I jumped into the oncoming lane to avoid them. I saw one’s face clear as day as my fender and door went past him. He didn’t hit the front corner of my trailer or my drives, luckily. However, he did hit his head on the side of my trailer. It must have been enough to daze him, as I watched him fall and get hit by my back hopper on the side. He went under my trailer tandems.
I was over gross weight, so he didn’t stand a chance. I pulled over about a mile up the road where it was wide enough to do so (two lane) and went to look over my trailer. I didn’t see any marks on my trailer or hopper, nor anything much on the trailer tandems. The only thing left was a tuft of fur or two and blood dripping off both mudflaps. RIP, Bambi.