Preventable or not: Doe, tow go toe-to-toe

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During a midnight dinner at Slim Jim’s Truck Stop near Little Rock, Ark., tractor-trailer driver John Doe was treated to an enthusiastic account, by fellow gear-jammer Buddy Bobbalini, of his stress-relieving workout at the new Rolling Strong Gym for truckers on Interstate 40. Maybe he’d check it out, Doe mused while finishing a generous helping of Slim’s “Sterling Salad” named in honor of the dearly departed truck line.

At the moment, however, it was 2 a.m., and thoughts of pumping iron were interrupted by the need to get off I-40 at Crumb Creek Road where, halfway down the well-lit exit ramp, a Chevy pickup and a tow truck were parked on the right shoulder. Slowing to less than 10 mph – from the posted ramp speed of 25 mph – and switching on his high beams, Doe came abreast of the tow truck when – Good Googlymoo! The crazy dude was pulling out! WHUMPO!

Alas, the dead-tired inattentive tow truck driver had pulled right into Doe’s right front fender, smashing his tractor’s giant pod-mounted triple-chrome-plated convex in the process! It took an entire bag of Spicy Ranch Doritos for Doe to regain his composure – which he lost again a few days later when his safety director slapped him with a preventable-accident warning letter.

Doe contested the decision, and the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee was asked to render a final opinion. To Doe’s relief, NSC ruled in his favor, noting that Doe had taken every possible precaution and that the tow truck’s sudden assault could not rationally have been anticipated.