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Lumbering terrors

I've mentioned several times that I grew up in northern New Hampshire, but I don't really think I've ever given a specific example of how that affected me. The other day an incident occurred that reminded me of one of my more unpleasant memories of the North Country.

When I was in high school, the news had a horrifying story. Two state troopers were transporting a prisoner down Route 25 in Warren, NH one night when they met a logging truck near a narrow bridge. Somehow the truck's load shifted and the truck rolled. The entire load tumbled on to the cruiser, killing all three occupants.

A couple years later, I went to college. It was about an hour from home, and the most direct routes went right past the accident scene. And every single time I made the trip back to see the 'rents, I thought about that accident when I passed the scene.

To this day, I get nervous as hell whenever I see a lumber truck, and if I have to pass one, I gun it as fast as I can and get out of what I consider "the death zone" as fast as I can.

I know lumber trucks are very safe vehicles, and such accidents are incredibly rare. But subconsciously, I don't care. Part of me is convinced that it's gonna happen THIS TIME, and TO ME.

So, what's your irrational fear?


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Comments (38)

Steel coils on flatbed truc... (Below threshold)

Steel coils on flatbed trucks. (Common in Detroit area, what with all the stamping plants.)

I always move so that I'm not behind one of those or anything else that could come loose (dork with boat trailer, for example). I remember pulling around one steel hauler, then wondering if I was paranoid. Later the same day, I heard on the radio traffic report that a steel coil had come off a truck on the same freeway.

Heights. Particularly if th... (Below threshold)

Heights. Particularly if there's not much between me & the edge. Doing stage lighting in college, I had no problem working in the attic or even with clambering around the spiderweb of crossbracing in the coves, but the extendable A-Frame ladder or the ledge that was the backstage continuation of the catacombs? Oh, hell no!

I live in Phoenix, Arizona ... (Below threshold)

I live in Phoenix, Arizona and am afraid to go out in the deserts alone with my telescope. After it has been dark for some time I become so paranoid about what can happen that I must pack up and go home. The problem with what can happen - I picture myself being attacked by a Polar Bear!

I never go by myself and always have a friend or friends with me. The can scare the Polar Bear away.

Although I love flying, I a... (Below threshold)

Although I love flying, I always dread the initial descent. If the climb rate isn't constant all the way up to the cruising altitude, I have this fear that the aircraft is going to literally fall right out of the sky.

And yes, I realize that I have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning as I do of dying in a plane crash. But I can never truly relax on a flight until we get up to 35,000 feet.

That Kevin will never again... (Below threshold)

That Kevin will never again post NSFW pics...

My fear of flying comes and... (Below threshold)

My fear of flying comes and goes. I find that sitting on an aisle seat helps. When the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign is off, I get up and stretch a bit. It gives me more of a feeling of "control", even though I'm not flying the plane, of course (and we'd be in big trouble if I was!) Go figure.

After I moved from Minnesota to New Jersey, I acquired another motorcycle. But riding in NJ made me very nervous -- drivers here don't use their turn signals much, and being such a densely populated state, there is traffic everywhere, all the time. A biker who isn't confident isn't safe. At an intersection in Plainfield, a car was waiting at an intersection, but no turn signal. I thought he was about to turn, so I grabbed a little too much brake, and flipped the bike. Broke my wrist and shoulder, and wore a hole in the skin over my knee the size of a quarter.

So I don't ride a motorcycle here anymore, but I don't think that's an irrational fear.

Jay, right there near your ... (Below threshold)

Jay, right there near your home town, I had a truck full of boulders ahead of me -- he hit a bump and a rock the size of Rhode Island popped out of the bed and rumbled across the highway toward me, bounced over the hood of my car as I was going 75 mph. That rock was as big as my car, bygawd.

I don't drive behind road construction vehicles anymore.

Rodents. Rats or m... (Below threshold)


Rats or mice, big or small, it doesn't matter. I go nuts whenever I see one. Which is why I no longer keep a shell chambered in my shotgun. But that's a story for another time.

Big boats...they FREAK me... (Below threshold)
mark m:

Big boats...they FREAK me out. If I see a big freighter in one of the gret lakes and i'm on shore I get a queezy feeling. It's weird but i've been that way sice I was a kid. I think it stems from the news coverage I read as a kid about the wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.

The lumber truck "fear" is ... (Below threshold)

The lumber truck "fear" is not so irrational, since they have been responsible for many deaths on many roads for a long time now.

The awful story about how very talented guitarist Duane Allman was killed...no drugs, no alcohol in Allman's system, while driving along a residential road, a lumber truck entered the road ahead of him, he swerved to pass around it, and the truck just came to a full stop in the middle of the road, blocking Allman's pass. Allman, driving a Harley, laid the bike down to avoid the worst but the bike rebounded off the lumber truck, flew into the air and then landed on Allman, sandwiching him between the road and the bike.

The driver of the lumber truck, still stopped without explanation in the middle of the road, walked over to Allman where he lay on the road, "to examine the boy..."

Allman later died in surgery from massive internal injuries (skull fractures and crushed liver, the worst of those).

Allman was 24 years old. A guy leaving a birthday party to go retrieve the birthday presents from his house for the birthday girl on a sunny, clear afternoon...

I've yet to ever read why the lumber truck made that full stop in the middle of the road, or whether or not the driver of that lumber truck was held accountable for causing the death of Duane Allman. All I know is that lumber trucks are too big, too heavy, too overloaded and too deadly to be on most public roads.

So, yes, I share your fear of lumber trucks. I've had my own series of bad experiences on roads where they are concerned, mostly those of remaining far behind them creeping along at thirty miles an hour for a few hours just to avoid coming close to them, and they never seem to pull over to let other traffic pass safely.

My OWN "irrational fears" are...let's see, a Great White. Ever since I saw "Jaws," I even experience the irrational fear sometimes when night swimming in a pool...can't see the water depths, and the very idea of a Great White shark...I can reason my way out of it but it's a very powerful fearful response that I never had in any water (ocean or pool, dark, deep water or not) before I saw that film.

I have the same fear, for t... (Below threshold)

I have the same fear, for the same reason. A guy and his wife from my small hometown in Alabama were passing a log truck in meeting, when one of the straps came loose. A log rolled off, decapitating the wife.

Ultimate School Fear<... (Below threshold)

Ultimate School Fear

That I get a notice in the mail that I did not complete a first grade homework assignment and thus failed the first grade. With that notice are notices from all the schools up to collage, informing me that because I did not meet the requirement for entry, all degrees and honors are being revoked. The next day, I find myself in a first grade class room trying to print my name with a very large pencil.

Spiders…not the little ones... (Below threshold)

Spiders…not the little ones that you can crush with your fingers.

It’s the big hairy ones with well-defined features that freak me out.

When I was 10 years old, I had a big wolf spider land on my shoulder while in a tent. It looked up at me and said, “I’m going to kick your ass!”, and I believed it. Can’t stand the sight of any of them since. Never became a fan of camping either for some reason…

Sleeping any where near a w... (Below threshold)

Sleeping any where near a window that doesn't have blinds and curtains that completley close. When I was a child, I fell asleep in the living room (on the floor). I rolled up against the widow. When I opened my eyes, there was a man standing in our yard looking in the window.

Heights, particularly high ... (Below threshold)

Heights, particularly high bridges and on/off ramps. For bridges, think 95 past Philadelphia or the Chesapeake Bay Bridge; for off ramps, think getting onto 95 out of Baltimore. I'm always afraid a bizarre gust of wind is going to pick my truck up and throw it over the side. Still, I go across the Chesapeake twice a year, as I head out to the beach, hyperventalating and with a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel.

I'm terribly afraid of 2 la... (Below threshold)

I'm terribly afraid of 2 lane rural highways. Especially in Wisconsin where, according to my husband, "probably a third of these cars are driven by someone who's had a few too many."

Every time a car, or the ubiquitous truck approaches, I'll straddle the shoulder and my stomach will turn.

Good thing I live in the city.

Zombies! Ever since I was a... (Below threshold)
Governor Breck:

Zombies! Ever since I was a kid and saw the original Night of the Living Dead I've lived in terror of the walking dead. It got so bad a few years ago that I'd stay up all night patrolling the grounds with a shotgun. A friend of mine (a horror afficionado) finally said, "This is ridiculous. You're letting your life revolve around something that doesn't exist. I'm taking you to see 28 Days Later [in theaters at that time] and you'll see how much fun zombies can be." Saw it, loved the film and from then on was hooked on zombie movies. I've seen them all and all the remakes and have read all the books. While I no longer lie in bed at night imagining THEM get closer and closer (they're just outside the door!) a well done zombie movie still gives me a thrill of terror.
If anyone's curious:
Favorite zombie movie: Dawn of the Dead '78. I still can't watch this in one sitting.
Favorite zombie book: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. Learn it! Know it! Live it!

Spiders, heights, driving o... (Below threshold)

Spiders, heights, driving on the freeway, flying, big trucks, you name it. God, I'm a big weenie.

A coworker's friend was fol... (Below threshold)

A coworker's friend was following a truck in traffic on I-45 north out of Houston. She noticed that some of the truck's load of sheet metal was loose and starting to flap in the wind. She wanted to pass, but traffic was thick (as usual), so she was stuck behind it for several miles. Finally there was a small opening, so she pulled out to pass. Just as soon as she had gotten in the left lane but before she had moved past, one piece of sheet metal blew off and hit the minivan which had been just behind her. Fortunately nobody was injured, but still... scary.

I have to agree with the Ja... (Below threshold)

I have to agree with the Jaws deal. I saw it when I was 12 or 13 and it pretty much wrecked the ocean for me. Wow, for a while there I'd start flippin out swimming across a mountain lake. Now thats irrational. I've gone out on fishing boats since then and never had a problem, but I always know where the CO2 tank and the rifle are located :-)

Wierd how things can get into your system and you just can't get them out.

I would have to say driving... (Below threshold)

I would have to say driving behind those car-carrier trucks, the ones that transport 10 cars at a time.

When I get behind one of those, I just know that the one on the top row (the one that hangs off the edge) is just about to come flying off onto my lap.

Bridges... I'm afraid that ... (Below threshold)

Bridges... I'm afraid that a section will suddenly drop out and we'll go plunging into the water. The ones I really dislike (in order) I-95 bridge from Portsmouth NH to Kittery ME, the Greeneway over the St Johns river here in FL, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge / tunnel nightmare.

I am also afraid of bridges... (Below threshold)

I am also afraid of bridges...of a big gust of wind picking my car up and blowing it right off the bridge. Especially the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Mackinac Bridge (I think a Yugo actually did get blown off this bridge.)

I have a fear of flying. No... (Below threshold)

I have a fear of flying. Not all that unusal until you consider the fact...

THAT I WAS FIGHTER PILOT AND HAVE OVER 7000 HOURS FLYING EXPERIENCE in various aircraft...from Cessna 152s, to F-16 Vipers, to even a WWII B-25...

I cannot stand to fly commercially. It's actually a control issue more than a fear of flying. If I'm at the controls I don't fear it as much. Sort of like preferring to drive a car rather than being the passenger.

The other part is being a pilot I realize just how much more dangerous flying is than the airlines let on. Safest form of travel? Only when measured in one statistic--number of miles travelled...in nearly ever other measure taken it is far more dangerous.

Bridges over water. My who... (Below threshold)

Bridges over water. My whole system tenses. I can't breathe, I break out in a cold sweat and want to throw up. I don't have any idea why, except that it would be a long, slow painful death if the bridge collapsed.

I have an irrational fear o... (Below threshold)

I have an irrational fear of deep water where I can't see the bottom, but know that it's there somewhere.

I attribute it to too many horror flicks where the victim is pulled under and a near drowning experience tubing a river when I was a kid involving rapids and log jams.

Heaven forbid I were ever stranded in the middle of a large body of dark water with only a life vest.

Hillary Rodham Clinton.<br ... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And to make it worse, HRC as President of the United States.
Even worse...I wake up in bed next to her...AAAAHHHHGGGGH...

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel
The Holy City of Winston-Salem, NC

I'm in the same boat as Min... (Below threshold)

I'm in the same boat as Mina and others - I absolutely hate going over bridges. The only difference is that I hate bridges that I can see no end to, or drawbridges. That really bothers the hell out of me. I think that, somewhere along the line, the rest of the bridge is out, and I won't know until I hit the crest of the bridge and its too late. Drawbridges, I just fear the mechanism malfunctioning and opening while I'm in the middle of it. I mean, I should have more faith in state-mandated engineering in bridges, right?


heh, lumber trucks scare yo... (Below threshold)

heh, lumber trucks scare you too, eh? I was effected by a similar incident, only the log didn't roll, it flew off the back of the truck after the truck accelerated, smashed through the windshield of the car behind it, and completely decapitated/ obliterated the woman's head who had just moments before been sitting in the passenger seat chatting with her husband, who was driving, and her kids, who were sitting in the back seat. (the lady was the only one killed. )

Trucks carrying 20 cars on those double decker beds freak me out too.

I'd have to say bridges as ... (Below threshold)

I'd have to say bridges as well. Ever since the Mianus River Bridge on I-95 in Greenwich, CT collapsed in June '83. 3 people died. I was 11 years old at the time and have never, ever felt the same going over bridges since then. Totally irrational, but it sits there in my head. Not likely to go away either, seeing as I drive across that exact span pretty frequently.

I'm not as afraid of bridge... (Below threshold)

I'm not as afraid of bridges as I once was, and am as inclined to think they're cool instead. Depends on the bridge. I think the watermark was when I went over the bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, near the spot where the ferry used to run. Didn't bother me much at all. It was more admiration and wishing I could see over the side better, then thinking maybe it was better that I couldn't.

I was always afraid of the Bourne and Sagamore bridges over the Cape Cod Canal, but that's mainly gone. It peaked when I was a kid and we were coming back from 4th of July fireworks at Bourne High School, to a cottage on the mainland side of the canal. Traffic was completely jammed over the bridge, so it took forever to cross and you could feel the bridge shaking more than I had any conception was safe.

I was also afraid, even as an adult, of the French King Bridge over the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts (I think it's Erving, maybe on the border of Montague), because it looked so decreptit. I was sure it would fall apart under me. That bridge I've actually seen from below, in a tour boat we all got to go on during a company picnic when I lived out there.

By comparison, I love the new Zakim bridge, and it doesn't even feel like a bridge.

Trucks with steel strapping... (Below threshold)

Trucks with steel strapping or poles to secure the loads (as opposed to an enclosed trailer)

In law school, I took a course on trial procedure which was taught by a highly respected civil litigator in town - excellent course BTW

he used this one particular case to emphasize the importance of photographic evidence in a jury trial

I will never forget this as long as I live - a little 4 year old girl, a beautiful little girl, had been riding in the front seat of the car with her mother (I age myself, this was in the days before airbags and car seats since most kids that age would be in the back seat now)

In front of them was one of these trucks and they were on a road that was under construction or full of potholes, for whatever reason it was a rough ride, when all of a sudden, a steel pole from this truck came loose and swung 180 degrees and thrust into the front window of this car straight into the one eye of this little girl

the pole by some miracle stopped before hitting her brain

she was left with a precise hole in her face where her one eye had been - the lawyer brought in the piece of the pipe to pass around the class

pictures were taken of her from the time of the accident and all through the various surgeries to minimize her injury, kept in albums and were also passed around the class - not hard to see why the jury was very generous in their judgment in favour of the little girl, even by Canadian standards...

I don't like following most trucks anyway, retread, spray, etc., but when I see one of these kinds of trucks, or any truck carrying pipes, I get past them as quick as I can, and see that little girl's face......

maybe because of this law suit and others, I don't see those kind of trucks as much, but even when I just see losers carrying stuff loose in the back of a little pickup I think of it as all potential projectiles

I'm a bit wary of those pre... (Below threshold)

I'm a bit wary of those pre-fab houses you see blasting down the highway on oversized trailers. A few years ago I took my kids on a family vacation, after they had just seen the Wizard of Oz for the first time -not kidding, and we were following a few cars behind a HUGE truck with half of an entire house on the back.

Cars were taking their time getting around the truck because it took up half of the next lane. All of a sudden, the back of the truck swung quickly to the left and back to the right again. In a weird slow motion, the house tipped over into the next lane at 70 miles per hour, right on top of a car that had been trying to pass. It was like a sideways tornado with a car that you could just glimpse from time to time in the middle of it as the house went rolling down the highway and disintegrated into smaller and smaller pieces.

All this time I was just trying not to hit the person in front of me and hope that the person behind would not hit me will driving through a blizzard of drywall and insulation. My kids were totally freaked out.

So, the house rolls to a stop, it's really just a pile of stuff by now and loe and behold, a door opens on the car in the middle of the mess and the two passengers emerge unhurt -- amazing.

Except, now my kids don't believe me when I tell them that houses can't fall on them.

Escalators. When I was a ki... (Below threshold)

Escalators. When I was a kid there was a story about a kid who's shoestrings got caught in the step and the leg was pulled in and crushed. Then, one day while out with my mother, the string that runs through the waist of my windbreaker (I had the arms of the jacket tied around my waist) got caught in the steps of an escalator. No injury (except to the string on the windbreaker) but I have been afraid of escalators ever since.

When I was a kid my parents... (Below threshold)

When I was a kid my parents got into an accident (not hurt, thank God) with a truck carrying.....coffins.
To this day, I can't look at coffins without thinking about death.

I'm another one in the brid... (Below threshold)

I'm another one in the bridge category. I have spent considerable time on city streets to avoid one airborne stretch of expressway near downtown Milwaukee, and have to go thru a mental ritual to get over some milder ones.

My relationship with steel coil trucks is not irrational. I've designed the hooks used for unloading them, and as an OSHA qualified chain inspector always give the tiedowns a onceover as I pass them.

Cement trucks. Similar sto... (Below threshold)

Cement trucks. Similar stories out west (Colorado) where the boom (?) of the cement truck swings loose and crashes into the car behind.

Also, I refuse to pass between two semi trucks on the highway. One night coming home late, a car in front of me was driving down the middle lane of a three lane highway, between two semi trucks. One of the trucks decided to change lanes, and the car was virtually collapsed between the trucks.

Touching the floor in a dar... (Below threshold)

Touching the floor in a dark bedroom. I will go to almost any lengths to ensure that I am never in darkness in my house. When it comes time to get into bed, I have to turn my bedroom light on, THEN go back to turn off the lights in the room I was in previously, then turn my bedside lamp on, then return to the bedroom door to turn the overheads off, then get into bed and switch off the bedside lamp. The farther away I am from my bedroom when I get sleepy, the more ridiculous it gets.

If I am sleeping in a room where there is no bedside lamp, I usually try to jump from the lightswitch to the bed so that I don't have to walk across a dark floor!






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