Tandem Highway Dance

by M. H. Niemann
Texas, USA

It was too early and still dark at 5:30 a.m. as I drove through Houston, Texas on the way to my parents’ house for our 2008 Thanksgiving dinner.

Tandem Highway DanceAs I drove south out of town on Highway 59, somewhere between Richmond and Rosenberg, I noted brake lights on the cars in front of me.

As I got closer I saw two 18-wheeler tractor-trailer rigs, one in each lane, slowing down until they were next to each other and blocking any traffic from getting around them. I thought maybe there was an accident, or perhaps one of the trucks was getting in position to pass the other one.

When the situation continued and the rigs even slowed down even further, I naturally got annoyed and started grumbling at the delay, cursing the rudeness of drivers with no consideration of others sharing the road with them. By this time, the rigs had slowed to almost 20 miles per hour and there was a long line of impatient cars behind them.

My whole mindset changed dramatically, however, when I was able to get a peek into the gap between the rigs at the road ahead. I saw a car weaving all over the road, slowing down and speeding up, slewing from one shoulder to the other.

The two rigs never faltered in their tandem blockade, ignoring the impatient honks of the cars behind them and moving over as necessary to keep cars from going around them on the highway shoulders. This situation continued for about another 15 minutes until three police cars, lights flashing, came racing up the access road and around the two 18-wheeler rigs.

I watched while the police cars herded the weaving car to the side of the highway and forced it to stop. The 18-wheeler rigs then sped up and moved over to let all the cars pass by.

I have no doubt those two 18-wheeler rigs saved many lives, not to mention the impaired driver of the weaving car, on that Thanksgiving morning. I only wish I had had the presence of mind to note which trucking companies those drivers worked for so I could have sent their companies a note.

I’ve always considered 18-wheeler truckers the unofficial “angels” of the highway — they are often in the right place at the right time and always, in my experience, help when they can with no expectations of reward or even thanks. What I observed that November only reinforced my opinion of these unsung Good Samaritans.

I gave those two truckers what thanks I could by honking and waving as I drove by… on my way to a truly thankful day with my family.

Originally published as HeroicStories #805

3 thoughts on “Tandem Highway Dance”

  1. I absolutely LOVE this story!! I have a special place in my heart for our 18-wheel angels on the road.
    Around 1978 I drove my old station wagon out to photograph Multnomah Falls shrouded in ice from recent cold temps. It’s a GORGEOUS sight to behold. On my way home my old car overheated in a tiny town. It was cold. It was windy and it was icy. Out of nowhere came an 18 wheeler. He took a look at the radiator and said it needed more than he could provide. This was before cell phones so I was trying to figure out how I would get home. This kind man offered to take me close to home. Of course being a teenage girl I was apprehensive but I knew from my father that truckers were highway angels. I took him up on his offer. This gentleman took me all the way home to my apartment, winding his way through the city streets. I will NEVER forget this generosity!

  2. Wonderful story!
    Professional drivers are unsung heroes too often getting and taking the blame in accidents they didnt cause.
    Thanks so much for this remiinder of kindness!


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