This type of truck has become the standard form of grain transportation here in Saskatchewan and across most of Canada. It is called a Super-B train and can haul 46 tonnes, or 1,686 bushels at a time. The two trailers are connected by a fifth wheel hitch, making the unit very stable on the road, able to make tight turns and easy to back up.
I had a close encounter with one of these units a couple weeks ago. I was coming home from Saskatoon after a Toastmasters meeting. It was a clear, calm night with the full moon shining; which means I don’t have much excuse for what happened. There were a number of vehicles ahead of me; as we got close to Delisle traffic slowed down. The vehicles ahead of me pulled into the left lane one after another and I guess I was a little distracted by watching the first semi that pulled out and wondering if he intended to turn off at the upcoming intersection.
I was suddenly aware that another semi was ahead of me and barely moving. I wasn’t travelling all that fast but the road surface near the intersection was icy and I knew I couldn’t stop. There was traffic coming in the left lane so I pulled right onto the shoulder, intending to stop. That was when I could see that this was a Super-B and that he was intending to make a right turn.
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion after that. There wasn’t a lot of room and after a bit I felt myself being pulled along, then shunted off to the side and into the snow filled ditch as he began to turn. Then all five trailer axles bumped the left rear corner of my car as they went by.
I wasn’t hurt and the car didn’t even look so bad. The left front tire was flat and I wondered if there might be more damage that I couldn’t see. My door had a little damage and the mirror was gone. Other than that it was only that back corner and a couple of windows that showed the effects of the collision.
A lady driver behind me saw the whole thing and took the time to guide me through the steps I needed to take while my thinking was still a little befuddled. I am very thankful for her help. I called the RCMP, called my son-in-law and got no answer, then called my wife. I got as far as telling her “I’ve been in an accident,” when there was a call waiting tone on my phone. That was my son-in-law and I had only began speaking to him when there was another tone. This was the RCMP telling me it could take an officer an hour to get to the accident scene. I called my son-in-law back and explained things to him and then called my wife whom I had left hanging with the news that I had been in an accident.
It only took half an hour for the RCMP and my son-in-law (who brought my wife) to arrive. During the time I was sitting in the car and waiting, three young sisters from our church happened to pass by. They got out of their car to see if I was all right, if I needed any help. They stood there shivering in the cold, wishing there was something they could do. Finally, they got back in their car, then came out again with a doughnut for me. “We took four,” they said, “and didn’t know why. Now we do.”
Insurance said our car was worth $11,400 and that it would take $16,000 to fix it. Our only option was to go car shopping. Yesterday we came home with a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, three years newer and a size or two larger than the 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring that will tour no more.