LETTER TO EDITOR: About beautiful Hwy. 6 – Expert driving advice from retired trucker

EDITOR’S NOTE: Expert advice from someone who spent 43 years behind the wheel of 80,000 pounds, drive like a professional. Good advice, Jim. And Happy Birthday to your wife. We hope you enjoy Netarts. And thank you for sharing.

I just arrived in Netarts from Idaho for a short visit from the land of heat, smoke & fire.

My wife is turning 69 today and I just read the article about the fatalities on your beautiful highway 6.

I’m a retired trucker. I started in 1974 and retired in 2017. I think that may qualify as a certified professional driver since I never wrecked any commercial or private vehicles in my career.

I’ve hit a couple of cows, an elk and more than one dog or cat. I was sad when that happened (especially the cows and the elk) but when you are weighing about 80,000 pounds moving at around 60 mph it’s pretty hard to miss….or stop because if you overreact you can wreck everything by leaving the road. You hold the wheel tight and try to slow enough hoping the animal moves.

The reason I am writing this is that if you want to drive like a pro you have to think like one. There has always been drivers who are foolish, drive impaired and are aggressive. There’s just more of them today but they’ve always been there.

Maybe they are stressed out because they can’t afford to buy gas or food. Maybe they just lost a loved one. Maybe they are late to work for one of three jobs they need to survive.

My point is that you have no choice but to drive for the others on the road who are not pros. You must drive defensively not offensively. You must concentrate on the task at hand, not the current situation in your life or your smartphone.

Each of us can help to make the highways safer. Each of us can drive like a true professional if we choose to. It’s a mindset like playing great golf or winning at bridge.

In the words of Nancy Reagan when the country needed an answer to drug addiction.

‘Just say no’

Your life or the life of someone else may depend on it.

Jim Getten, Idaho
Retired but still driving around the country in my RV👍