By Jena Williams

Last week I had the privilege of riding along with Dan Poorman of Gordon Trucking, Inc. He is a super-star of trucking, winning this year’s Truckload Carrier Association’s Driver of the Year Award, and he was recently acknowledged by GTI as a three-million-mile safe driver.

Dan is modest about his accomplishments. “It’s great to be recognized but it also helps to have good equipment to work with that is well maintained,” he said. “GTI is a company that is dedicated to safety and equipment maintenance.”

As important as it is to work for a safe company, I could see by riding along with Dan, there was more to his success than just the company. Dan is a stickler for details, stating, “…develop a routine and stick to it.” He noted that it can just take a second for an incident to occur that has the power to change your life. But by sticking to a routine and always double checking your equipment, you can stay safe.

Some examples that I witnessed: Dan always double-checks that the pegs are locked into place when moving the trailer axles. He climbs under the trailer with his flashlight to be sure the 5th wheel claw is secure. He checks every tire on each new trailer. And when dealing with traffic, he said he doesn’t let it stress him out, noting you can either get upset about the situation or choose not to. The situation is what it is; it’s better to just accept it when you can’t change it.

His advice for new drivers is to request more training time be spent on the tricks of backing into the loading dock. As important as it is to drive down the road, the real test is getting that big rig into the dock.

From a guy with 25 years (22 with GTI) of safe-driving experience, I think this is advice we can take!

Thanks again to GTI and Dan Poorman for taking the time to show me the ropes!

For more information on driving & backing trailers, check out these YouTube videos by Jimmy Cox: http://www.youtube.com/user/jimscee/videos

For more on trucking safety see: www.KeepTruckingSafe.org.