Sometimes, the oldest tales have the most profound effect on people. Powerful stories are ones that wind their way around those sharp turns and find their way into your hearts and beliefs, causing all you believe to be questioned and challenged. After all, these stories can almost seem real, can't they?
That’s probably why the legends and myths we hear in our lifetime have such strong ways of affecting us way after we pass into adulthood, their grip strong even past that point of middle age. Some people never quite get over the fears they feel when an old wives tale or myth gets spoken aloud. And there’s very good reason for that, very good reason indeed.
We’ve got some of the most popular and mysterious legends from the road, legends and myths that long haul truck drivers need to face every day. And in some ways, only they can perhaps really tell us whether these myths are fact or legend, as they’re out there every day and night, after all.
We also have a few facts that would surprise you. We know a few of them surprised even us. And we’ve thrown in some really cool facts about big rig trucks and the industry that are really interesting.
So once again, dear reader, we ask you to join us. That’s right, climb up into this dark cab, settle yourselves in, and get ready to be chilled to the bone as we take a ride down that desolate highway and take the good along with the bad, as we take an in-depth look at some long haul facts and creepy myths from the last few decades, legends that were enough to make even the toughest truck drivers shake in their boots.
20 MYTH - THE INFAMOUS MYSTERY CONVOY
Sightings of multiple big rig trucks driving in the same direction have been popping up for decades. And when we say multiple, we're not talking about five or six. A little while ago, a convoy of 124 identical trucks was seen traveling in the same direction and what's more, it was caught on camera. That's right. The video can be seen online. As it turns out, that one was supposedly for a Special Olympics fundraiser, but that wasn't the first time such a sighting was reported. The mysterious thing here may have many connotations, leading to possibilities of any number of things, but our minds always go to aliens and Area 51. We can thank The X-Files for that.
19 FACT - HOW MUCH FUEL IS USED BY THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY?
Well, it's no surprise that fuel and gas are pretty up there in terms of trucking expenses. Gas sure doesn't cost what it used to. But, as drivers, we accept this because we love to drive and at the same time, driving your car to work is as necessary as breathing, especially in this fast-paced society of ours. Now, you'd think that the trucking industry in and of itself would account for a large portion of the fuel purchased in the US, but the actual percentage may surprise you. At the end of the day, the trucking industry accounted for only a mere 12.8% of the fuel purchased in the States alone, which is not much when you think of it.
18 MYTH - HIGH BEAMS
This one's definitely something out of a horror film—or rather, out of a bad joke told at a party. You be the judge. The tale tells of a woman who's being followed by a big rig truck. Every now and again as she drives, the truck flashes its high beams at her. She turns and he turns, following her, thus doing so for many turns afterward. The woman gets frightened and pulls over and runs into a gas station by the side of the road. The trucker exits his truck and follows her inside. She and the gas station attendant confront the trucker. He puts his hands up and says he was trying to warn her because there was someone in the backseat of her car all along! Gulp!
17 FACT - AMAZING NEWS FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS
To say that cars or vehicles of other sorts have done their part to harm the environment is really an understatement. As automotive enthusiasts, even we need to realize this. Now, that doesn't mean that we condone the complete and utter abandonment of the combustion engine. No way, no how! There are many ways to protect the environment and still enjoy the vehicles we have come to obsess over, and behold...the trucking industry has obviously found a way because reports have shown that over the last two decades or so, EPA emission regulations have cut down exhaust output by a whopping 95%! Now, how's that for protecting our planet?
16 MYTH - SECRET UNDERGROUND TUNNELS
This is a reality that truckers must deal with on a regular basis, and that's because companies—especially large ones—hate to wait. Tons of money has changed hands for those products being shipped and hauled to and fro and delays can cost a lot more. And there is yet another myth that has been whispered over and over again from mouth to mouth and this one tells of a maze of underground tunnels used by truck drivers alone. Something like the secret of a secret society comprised solely of truckers and shippers and, perhaps, dispatchers. If they do exist, where are they and how deep beneath the earth's surface do they go?
15 FACT - THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY IS EXPECTED TO GROW
Seeing that the trucking industry has, in fact, done its part to keep up with the demands of environmentalists and the trucking industry alike, then it should be no surprise that the trucking industry is actually expected to grow in the next few years. This is actually a great thing for the economy, as seeing businesses thrive in turn means that workers and families will thus be thriving, as well. And more job opportunities will be available, as well as lower prices for goods (more availability, thus less money spent on goods). And with the Tesla big rig designs getting more positively reviewed, companies will also be spending less on fuel—but more on that later.
14 MYTH - VANISHING HITCHHIKER
The concept of the hitchhiker has been played out in countless Hollywood films and otherworldly novels. The fate of said hitchhiker is always an unfortunate one but this wasn't always so. Back in the 1950s and 60s, hitchhiking was quite commonplace and many travelers did so if they were on some cross-country adventure. Society being much simpler and kinder back then, this wasn't such a dangerous option. But as society changed and darkened slightly, so did the fate of the lonely hitchhiker. And what's more, it wasn't only the drivers we had to fear anymore, as the hitchhiker themselves can now be considered to be quite mysterious and frightening themselves.
13 FACT - TESLA'S BIG RIGS GET POSITIVE FEEDBACK
Tesla has been on the receiving end of some serious backlash following Elon Musk's appearance on The Joe Rogan Podcast. Also, some comments he made regarding artificial intelligence have made him the laughing stock of the automotive industry—in some people's minds that is. Now, it's no question that the man has made a few mistakes but we feel that there is, in fact, a place for both types of vehicles on the market and we don't believe that his intentions are to completely abolish the combustion engine of old. One has to only listen to his views on artificial intelligence to see that. But, after it's all said and done, there is a place in society for electric vehicles, especially in the transport industry, as the savings on fuel costs could be astronomical.
12 MYTH - MYSTERIOUS HIGHWAY
There once was a route in the States that had a rather unfortunate series of numbers. Think Highway 66, only add a third six. Yeah, unfortunate, indeed. Now, sometimes, there can be nothing worse for the old nerves than an old legend that goes back to biblical times, especially if the night is particularly dark and ominous. Well, it's on that highway that many have reported some of the craziest sightings, and when we say crazy, we mean crazy. The scariest calls have come into dispatch from the CB Radio and always from that route. Needless to say, the government got involved and changed the name of the highway and they renamed it Route 491.
11 FACT - MANY FEMALE TRUCK DRIVERS OUT THERE
For years, the trucker was thought of as a man. This was, unfortunately, the case for so many professions out there and that's only because history allowed us to be taught such things. But since women have fought for their equality, women have popped up in some of the most unlikely professions and the profession of truck driving is no different. As it turns out, there are quite a number of women who have chosen this profession and they sure have made it their own. A recent poll taken shows that there are currently over 200,000 female long haul truck drivers working in the United States alone.
10 MYTH - THE BEETLE
It's no question that these trucks need to go fast in order to meet their deadlines. These guys often are dealing with difficult conditions, like weather and traffic—and that's not to mention other drivers, who can at times be the riskiest things out there. Well, this myth has been told over and over again and although it isn't confirmed as a fact, there have been rumblings among patrons at local truck stops swapping stories over cheeseburgers and stale coffee. As it turns out, such stories tell of two big rig trucks that are both traveling to meet a deadline when in a sudden horrible occurrence, they end up colliding on the road. Well, the myth says that the collision is so total that when the trucks are pulled apart, a VW Beetle can be found in the mix, as well.
9 FACT - HOW MUCH FUEL IS USED BY A BIG RIG
This one's quite obvious but sometimes, it's the obvious facts that are right in front of your face that have the capability of surprising you most. Case in point: how big is the difference between the amount of fuel used in your car from the amount used to power a big rig truck? So, the average car—let's say yours, dear reader—consumes about 500 gallons of fuel per year, give or take a few gallons. Well, a typical big rig truck that operates year-round will consume 20,500 gallons a year! It sure is a lot and probably more than you expected. So, that means that a big truck uses 40 times more gas than a regular car to be powered for a year! Was that under or over your expectations?
8 MYTH - THE BLACK DOG
Perhaps this myth contains some of the stuff great horror is made of. And if you are a fan of mythological horror, then this story's just for you. The Black Dog that the myth speaks of is supposed to be a warning of sorts. Essentially, it is believed that if a truck driver sees this supposed dog, it means that the end is on its way somewhere down the line, and this particular ride may be the trucker's last. The dog appears when the trucker falls asleep or starts to. The myth was made popular in the Patrick Swayze film, Black Dog, which was aptly named, of course. So keep that coffee coming, thermos after thermos, and keep your eyes peeled for that Big Black Dog.
7 FACT - THE TOP ITEMS TRANSPORTED
If you live near a McDonald's restaurant, then chances are the big rig you see most is that one featuring those prominent golden arches along with what looks like a very tasty burger. And yes, although those trucks are enough to cause your respective stomachs to rumble and almost always be the deciding factor as to what you'll be having for lunch, frozen McDonald's goods aren't the most transported item by way of long hauls and big rig trucks. As it turns out, the items most transported by big rigs are reportedly articles of clothing, furniture, and electrical and mechanical equipment. And with food delivery being a close fourth, we guess that the McDonald's haul does almost make the top three of that list after all.
6 MYTH - JOY RIDE
Perhaps there is no film that fed into the myths of long haul truck driving and the mysterious occurrences that happen on that long dark highway than this one here. Joy Ride was released in 2001. It starred none other than Paul Walker, who throughout his life became a spokesman for the automotive industry and an inspiration to gearheads everywhere. This role was at about the same time that he first played Brian O'Conner in the Fast and Furious franchise, but the two films couldn't have been more different. This one dealt with the creepiness that can befall the lonely traveler out there and just how risky it can get when you decide to play a childish game with the wrong person. Yikes!
5 FACT - THE BIG RIG IN HOLLYWOOD
But the big rig has been showcased in many Hollywood films and done so in such a grandiose fashion that the big rig itself has become a big part of Hollywood lore. After all, Hollywood sure has a way to make things look big and impressive. But let's face it, big rigs don't need all that much help, now do they? Movies that come to mind in which the big rig played a large part include Black Dog, starring Patrick Swayze and Meatloaf, Over The Top, starring Sylvester Stallone, and, of course, Big Trouble In Little China (who can forget that classic from the epic days of Hollywood?), starring Kurt Russell. All three of these films featured the big rig in all its magnificent glory.
4 MYTH - TRUCKERS ARE IRRESPONSIBLE ON THE ROAD
Many have said the above statement and there couldn't be anything further from the truth. Truckers undergo serious training and, furthermore, the companies that employ these truckers do thorough checks on all their drivers and the precision with which they drive is very hard to achieve. Many will freely blame the big rig in any possible accident but the big rig just so happens to be involved in a lot of accidents because of its sheer size. Yes, some incidents occur because of the big rig drivers themselves but according to research, they only account for two out of 10 accidents and at the end of the day, that concludes that the above generalization isn't at all factual.
3 FACT - SINKHOLES
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is actually quite real and happens all the time—and it isn't just big rigs that suffer the consequences of such possibilities. Sinkholes sound like something out of an old movie, but they are far more real than people would like to think. In fact, just recently, a school bus in Montreal, Quebec, was subject to the effects of a small sinkhole, thankfully much smaller than the one pictured above. But sinkholes are extremely time-consuming and expensive. But they are also scary, as the driver just doesn't know exactly how deep they go, so we more than understand the terror at hand.
2 MYTH - THE INFAMOUS JCVD TRUCK SPLITS
It wasn't too long ago that action superstar Jean Claude Van Damme made headlines when an internet video of him performing his famous splits popped up on social media. Well, many have argued that this one was a myth, as this would have been impossible, but there are far many more people who believe the man actually did it. It was part of an advertisement for Volvo, and if you look deep enough and do enough research, you'll find some videos that actually caught the whole thing on camera. In the video, Jean Claude is standing with one foot on one truck and his other on the other truck. The trucks are moving forward and slowly, they start to drift apart. Now, we've put this on the myth side of our list, but we believe that he did, in fact, perform this stunt. And if you question it, we've got one thing to add: he's Jean Claude Van Damme, aka the Muscles From Brussels!
1 FACT - HOW MUCH DO TRUCKERS ACTUALLY MAKE?
And now, the question of all questions. It all comes down to the money, at the end of the day. With all the hours they put in, with all the risk out there—whether factual or not—how much do these men and women make at the end of a long haul? Well, according to recent research done on the subject, it is recorded that the average salary for a truck driver is actually around $44,500 dollars a year. That salary is based on polls taken in the States, but should be similar in Canada, as wel. And at the end of the day, that's not all that much when you consider all the risks involved. Can I get an old tug on the horn in response?
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDb, CDL Life, Ustruck, and Planet Freight.