As I mentioned yesterday in my blog- Off To Fort St. John– we had a road trip taking us fairly far North in British Columbia. We left our home at 6am and made it into Fort St. John by 8pm. we made it in one word:
That’s the key that I want to mention about this road trip that I always overlook when talking about driving. I love taking the roads through the mountains, deserts, countrysides and cities. Road trips are a good way to bond with my family on these vacations. But the journey needs to always be taken safely.
We left before the sun came out. But we stopped twice before even hitting the freeway. That’s because I was uncertain about one of the front straps on the kayaks I had mounted to the roof. Because of my anal retentiveness- this prevented any possible issues during our drive. Every time we stopped for gas- I rechecked the tie downs. All was good.
After about eight hours of my hand at driving, I realized I was becoming extremely tired and had my wife take over. I hopped into the back seat with our son, while our daughter sat up front and played “DJ”.
After a couple of hours driving on the single lane roadways- my wife was behind a slow moving vehicle. When an opportunity arose for her to pass the RV, she signaled and began to pull around. At which point the truck behind her also decided he wanted to pass both our car and the RV. He had no signal and a lead foot. My wife had to jerk back into our lane narrowly avoiding hitting the front side of the truck and the rear bumper of the car in front. There was no reason for the guy behind us to try and run us off the road. But he felt he was more important.
My wife remained calm and then passed the RV. The other truck was now barreling down the road ahead of us at close to twice the posted speed limit. Oh well.
About an hour before we were to get to our destination- there was the remnants of a bad accident. It looked as though a train had collided with a semi trailer at the only train crossing around. The flag people were in position alternating the flow of traffic. We weren’t held up for very long.
Needless to say, we encountered a few indiscretions during our fourteen hour drive. Road trips are long and can be tedious. But keeping your occupants and fellow drivers around you safe should always be number one. We preach safety at my work, and I take that home every day as well. I’d much rather get to our destination safely than in a hurry.
So we made it to Fort St. John safely.
On Friday our oldest got her N which means she can drive without supervision. Today she left for her work on her own. To my wife and I- this is a big deal. It’s the start of a bit more freedom. Freedom from chaperoning the kids everywhere.
But it was also tough to see our oldest leave without us. Even though we could’ve slept in- we had to make sure she left the nest and got to work safely. So we made her text us once she arrived at her job. Being a parent means we still worry.
And worry we will.
Growing up I remember seeing signs around my neighborhood such as these:
Now as an adult, I rarely see these signs. Or perhaps I just don’t notice them. I have found however- that information and reporting of suspicious activity gets shared quickly amongst friends and neighbors. Even though the signs aren’t out- I feel good knowing that my neighbors all look out for one another.
Sharing information is great. Sharing fear is not. There is a fine line when it comes to what or how people should share as well. Staying safe and having a safe community to live in is of the utmost importance. So I will continue to talk with my neighbors and keep my eyes open for anything out of the ordinary. I hope that you will do the same.
Stay safe out there. And do your part to keep your neighbors safe as well.
Today was a different day at work for me. Usually I’m in an office running reports and moving trains. Today I got an opportunity to go out and talk with coworkers about safety concerns and open up some dialogue.
Safety is something extremely important that we all need to be a part of. I try and get out in the field for a bit every couple of days while at work. Today was an entire day instead. I enjoyed it.
While out I noticed a lot of excellent behaviors. Working at a railroad, people need to be kept aware of how unforgiving the work environment can be. We also need to look out for those that aren’t always on the railroad. Such as contractors and even the general public. If we can make a positive impact in each other’s lives, I’m satisfied.
I enjoyed talking to everyone. I’m also really happy with the discussions had. This aspect of my job is probably my favorite. Just an open dialogue trying to resolve issues.
Today we went out to an Oktoberfest party at The Trading Post in Fort Langley. I volunteered to be the designated driver to my wife and our friend since I am partaking in a personal Sober September. It made me realize that I have never really been a DD before. I did it once earlier in August for our Dinner Train. But usually, I am the one getting a safe ride home.
Today as everyone around was getting tipsy and drinking, I realized that when I was younger- I made many mistakes getting behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks. I’m embarrassed by my actions from my past. I got lucky in my life that I never injured or killed anyone. But those lapses in judgment could have come with terrible consequences. Even though nothing had ever happened in my past- I know that time would only catch up if I kept it up. Having a safe ride home has become part of the plans as I head out.
Being sober at a drinking function isn’t all that bad. In fact it’s sometimes more entertaining to see (and remember) the shenanigans that occur around you. At the end of the day/night getting your friends back home safely is probably the best feeling. Oftentimes you get thanked in a drunken love kinda way. Slurred speech and kindness comes out.
Obviously my advice is simple: Make sure you have a designated driver or a safe ride home planned out in advance. It’s much better to get home safely than not at all.
The term “All of the bells and whistles” often refers to a product or purchase that has more to it than just the base model. Usually related to houses, cars and electronics. A few weeks ago, I bought a new car. It had all the bells and whistles. Especially when it comes to the safety aspect.
My car has regular safety car features. Brakes, seatbelts, horn… But it also has extra safety features such as ABS brakes, airbags, daytime running lights- all of which are pretty much standard on cars these days. It also comes with a back up camera (which Canadian Law wants to be mandatory by May 2018 on all new cars), side cameras, a front camera, blind spot warnings, and proximity warnings. Things I never thought necessary before in a car. But it has all the bells and whistles of safety available in a vehicle of this price range.
After working at the railroad for nearly a decade, I think this statement “All the bells and whistles” definitely refers to safety. On locomotives, the horn is called the whistle. There is also a bell. Both are often used when a train is approaching a crossing to give warnings to vehicle traffic. The bells and whistles are a necessity to ensure safety. To some, it may seem like overkill to hear a bell and a whistle on an oncoming train. But to others, such as the locomotive engineer and conductor, these features are necessary to keep everyone safe.
If having “extra” safety features in a vehicle means it is no longer the base model, then what does that say about us as a society?
I work the nightshift regularly at the moment. I sit at a desk typing things into a computer, answer the phone and the radio, and generally work alone. There have been hours at a time that I’m the only one in the building. I like to have the lights dimmed and the blinds closed as I work. Like a late night radio dj, smooth and calm is how I like to run my shift.
But, I get a bit stir crazy sometimes. The other night, I randomly began singing about eating my curry chicken and rice. Most nights I am swearing and cursing before I would answer the phone in a calm manner. I often sing my responses to the crews as they ask questions on the radio. Sometimes I’ll quote movies as my responses.
The job is tedious at times. It’s also extremely stressful. My job is best described as being an air traffic controller for trains. It’s a dangerous and unforgiving environment for those who work on the ground. They are expecting me to give them the best information I can in order for them to do their job safely. I take great pride in my work every night. Many of my coworkers have come to understand my style of working. As well, I’ve grown to understand their capabilities.
Together, we make through each night until daylight breaks.
“Nobody moves and nobody gets hurt.” –cliché
This phrase means more to me now than any old western or hold-up movie since starting work in the railroad industry. I orignally heard someone say it during my training. What I thought was just a humorous quote, truly meant more as my career went on.
SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY.
We work in an unforgiving environment. From the engines to the box cars, from the hot blistering sun to the freezing cold winter nights, from trying to read our lists to using the radio to speak with crews- there is so much to remember. It all comes down to working safely. We rely on each other at work. Working 8-12 hour shifts, we all want to go home at the end of the day to our families and friends. If you haven’t been onto the tracks before- stop and assess the situation. If you don’t understand what is being requested of you- ask again. Don’t make a move if safety is in question.
“Nobody moves and nobody gets hurt.”
In response to the 3-day Quote Challenge (Day 3)
I nominate the following bloggers for the 3-day quote challenge:
The Running Garden
Vandale on Sports
If you accept, post 1-3 quotes for 3 consecutive days, and nominate 3 fellow bloggers to do the same each day