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Too Many Samaritans?

DMT

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I'm posting in this category, General Truck Uses, because of an experience that happened tonight involving "truck uses."

So I was out driving with my teenage daughter and we were talking about safe driving for teens. It is on my mind right now because I mentioned it in an earlier post today on this site in reference to a 16 year old new driver who t-boned my Suburban last year. Anyway we were talking about why it is important to not be in a hurry, to focus on the road and to avoid distractions (like talking on the phone). We turned a corner and came upon an odd sight in my rural neighborhood: a late 90s-era Jeep Grand Cherokee high centered in a ditch off the side of the road. It was teetering on an extreme angle, a few degrees away from rolling on its side into the deep irrigation ditch, maybe 7 or 8 feet deep and 10 feet wide. There were four or five teenage kids huddled around the Jeep with sheepish and worried expressions. I got out and looked at the predicament. One of them, distancing himself from the female driver, said "it was her fault...she tried to do a U-turn and didn't notice the ditch." I said, "let's not assign blame right now, let's just solve the main problem--getting the Jeep out."

So then I encountered the situation of "too many samaritans" which is not all that uncommon in my neighborhood.

A truck pulled over, looked at my Suburban and said "you got this, right?" I nodded "I'm good, thanks". "Need a strap?... I have a good one." he said. I said, "No really, thanks, I'm good". As I was opening up my barn doors to get the strap, another truck pulled over and offered to help, saying he had a chain and a strap. "Thanks, I'm all set."

By the time I had placed the strap over the tow hook (the lower one, to exert lift on the downward tire), YET ANOTHER truck pulled over not just offering to help, but insisting on helping. He got out with a strap still in the packaging and boasted about how awesome it was, etc. I assured him I was fine, but put him to work in the driver's seat of the Jeep to make sure the wheels remained pointed in the right direction when I was pulling it out.

Pulling it out turned out to be a breeze. By this time the mother of the teenage driver had appeared, totally stressed but appreciative that we extricated the Jeep without damaging it and that her precious daughter was okay.

So the takeaways from this experience?

Besides feeling a rush of pride and let's face it, embarrassment at the over abundance of good Samaritans in the neighborhood who were 1) well equipped with extraction gear in their trucks, and 2) almost giddy and overeager when an extraction opportunity arose, I am just thinking about why it always makes sense to carry around various pieces of extraction equipment in our rigs, and why it is important to know where it is and be able to find it immediately. I am convinced if I would have taken more than 20 seconds to get my strap out of the back of my Suburban, two other guys would have been there hooking up to that Jeep and doing it themselves, even though I was the first on the scene.

So I put it out there, what extraction gear to you carry with you, and can you get to it quickly?
 

FellowTraveler

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Some years ago on I-95 North in Martin County Florida a State Trooper FORD was stuck deep into mud in really wide medium responding to an accident. The tow truck on the scene could not reach it to hook up, so I whip out the straps let out some line on the hydro winch, dropped the Burb into low range, reverse and switched on the ARB locker in front and reversed pulling the FORD out easy pesy.
 

btfarm

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Couple straps, long and short, and 20' of 5/16 chain with grab hooks and a crossover box full of tools way beyond usual. Leftover setup from when I was still farming and prepared for whatever happens in the field.
 

JayTheCPA

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Not much need for extraction around me as LE responds fairly quickly. That and the Samaritan factor is hit-and-miss as people are rather indifferent to others. Although, if the individual is a cute young woman, traffic stops.

I do carry a bunch of ~2K# tie down straps in the trucks. Figure that I could double-up as necessary. Trucks usually have a sizeable safety chain as well.



And by the way, distraction is not just a thing for teenagers. I was T-boned by a 20-something police officer as I attempted to back into a parking space. The officer decided to tailgate me for some reason, but never turned on lights or siren, so I went to my destination. I even gave the officer plenty of warning for each upcoming turn as the vehicles were so close that I could have pounded the brakes and easily gotten a cruiser attached to my rear bumper. Ya'd think that the collision was caused by equipment malfunction as the situation called for heightened focus, but no... Officer claimed distraction as the reason for the collision. Never did learn why it was necessary to tailgate me...
 

MrMarty51

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I tell everyone that I pack that equipment to get Me out of a situation. They all know Me better than that, and, that anyone stuck or in distress, I’ll be the first one to help them out.
Got one of them Sears tool boxes loaded full, sockets, wrenches, extensions, one of them sets in the $280.00 range that all comes in its molded case, plus whatever else I might need for tools.
Those items have saved myself a few times and several others too.
 

DMT

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Not much need for extraction around me as LE responds fairly quickly. That and the Samaritan factor is hit-and-miss as people are rather indifferent to others. Although, if the individual is a cute young woman, traffic stops.

And by the way, distraction is not just a thing for teenagers. I was T-boned by a 20-something police officer as I attempted to back into a parking space. The officer decided to tailgate me for some reason, but never turned on lights or siren, so I went to my destination. I even gave the officer plenty of warning for each upcoming turn as the vehicles were so close that I could have pounded the brakes and easily gotten a cruiser attached to my rear bumper. Ya'd think that the collision was caused by equipment malfunction as the situation called for heightened focus, but no... Officer claimed distraction as the reason for the collision. Never did learn why it was necessary to tailgate me...
Bizarre. I'm guessing the officer was looking down at the laptop putting your license plate number in the computer and when he looked up he got an even better view of your truck. Weird. I presume the local station made it right with you for the repairs.

LE probably would have responded quickly around here too, but no one wanted to get them involved. For the scared teens LE on the scene would have heightened the "scariness" of the situation, and possibly a ticket for the driver. But for the multiple guys in their rigs driving by LE would have been a completely unnecessary and un-fun damper on the situation. The whole drama was resolved in 10 minutes. Anyone of the rigs that appeared on the scene (it is a fairly busy road) could have handled it equally well, I am convinced. It was a matter of who could do it fastest, with the least fuss and with the most fun.
 

DMT

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Got a 4" strap and a flashlight. Also a toolbox. Most of the time I use the strap it's winter and usually dark hence the flashlight
I'm thinking a 4 inch strap and a flashlight is all you need for 80% of the extraction situations you might encounter. I usually go overboard and add a lot more equipment to the mix, but looking back, I think a good strap is all that was needed for most of the extractions I have done.
 

DMT

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I tell everyone that I pack that equipment to get Me out of a situation. They all know Me better than that, and, that anyone stuck or in distress, I’ll be the first one to help them out.
Getting stuck yourself, especially in what appears to be a totally hopeless situation far from potential samaritans, and then someone showing up out of the blue to save the day is like getting a vaccine. Once you have it you know what it feels like and you naturally have the inclination to do the same thing for others that are in a similar situation. I think this is why I carry around so much excess extraction gear. I was rescued as a teen driver in a remote area by some quiet dude in a Ford F250 who had all the gear and the knowhow to solve the problem. Then he refused to take the meager amount of cash I had in my pockets for a lame attempt at payment. So I'm like you. I'll be the first to help them out of their predicament. It feels great.
 

DMT

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Couple straps, long and short, and 20' of 5/16 chain with grab hooks and a crossover box full of tools way beyond usual. Leftover setup from when I was still farming and prepared for whatever happens in the field.
You should definitely be set. I get a lot of ideas by watching Matt's Offroad Recovery YouTube videos --- my favorite entertainment these days. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwdVOry0oNF9WIe_3uCfz9Q. Matt uses a kinetic rope for nearly all his extractions. It stretches a lot more than a typical 4 inch strap. I haven't made the plunge because I have so many perfectly capable straps that continue to work for me, but I am considering the kinetic rope idea. Have you used one?
 

DMT

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Some years ago on I-95 North in Martin County Florida a State Trooper FORD was stuck deep into mud in really wide medium responding to an accident. The tow truck on the scene could not reach it to hook up, so I whip out the straps let out some line on the hydro winch, dropped the Burb into low range, reverse and switched on the ARB locker in front and reversed pulling the FORD out easy pesy.
Well done, Fellow. A lot pulling power for sure. So long as you have good traction that arrangement could pull out most things. I've never used a hydro winch. I use a Warn MT12000 which seems to work for me well enough. How do you like the hydro?
 

Will L.

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I carry and prefer a 20k rated tow strap. Also carry chain. Then all the regular hand tools, aluminum 3 ton harbor freight floor jack (super great jack for like a decade now) handi-man jack, 9,500# winch with a snatch block, and 2 ton come-along. Options are good. Then a descent assortment of spare parts for my rig as well. Most importantly- 5gallons drinking water, and some granola type bars and a ziplock bag of sugar for the diabetes in my extended family. First aid kit and fire extinguisher.
Bang stick on my hip.
Always better to have it and not need it....

Around here- LEO make sure person isn’t injured, then write the tickets. If stuck they call the PD authorized tow companies. If you can’t pay at the moment they show up- vehicle impounded by tow company.
Most officers will allow a stranger to yank out a stuck person if no traffic is backed up. But if cars have to do a lane change to get around them- HOOK only. Same for running out of fuel or flat tire. If the driver tells the officer they have already called tow company, AAA, etc then they give them some time before calling out their tow company for impound.

Ya have to be careful helping people out. You take on the liability. Doesn’t matter if they hook their strap to their rig- you hit the throttle and it damages their rig- you (or your insurance) pays for it - you are at fault and can be sited for causing an accident.

Folks wanting front end work like steering/suspension, paint, new radiator, etc have used this as a scam and hook up to a wrong part on purpose of their rig. Helpful Henry comes along and sees they just need a quick tug.
Pow, you just paid your insurance deduction, a fine or two from johnny law, and oh, did you ya k it so hard as to cause whiplash or bodily injury some how?

One more reason to open carry- some crooks assume open carry person is leo and won’t try scams, or assume I am the kinda guy to just shoot them over it.

use more legal caution than you do rescue caution.
 

WarWagon

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As @Will L. Mentioned. I don't stop and help people anymore. I used too. @DMT You done a good thing, now, I suggest you stop it. It's simply too dangerous and liability. I would seriously reconsider your stance on it, suggest calling 911 instead, and let the professionals deal with it. If your strap broke it could have cut several people in half. :wideyed: Do you carry 1/2 to 1 million on your auto insurance? Not enough but minimum coverage isn't enough anymore...

Being late for work because I stopped and changed a tire for someone was one of a few reasons that got me fired from a place that sold new tires long ago.

People higher than a kite on drugs, extreme DUI, dementia, setup for a carjacking, robbery, etc. Yes "good looking" is "bait". Nevermind baiting is illegal. People will stage an auto wreck as well.

People passed out in the middle of the road about to die from alcohol poisoning ... Yeah the professionals need to be on the way FIRST!
The worst thing that happens now even to LEO, and other professionals, is some uninsured suicidal illegal alien shithead on their damn phone, high on whatever the hell they found or not, plows into you on the side of the road. Death is the easy way out as rehab is long. No, on their phone texting, reading a map, etc. Talking, oh hell, is paying attention by today's standards. You have been passed by someone putting their makeup on with the sun visor mirror in the AM right? You have 1 million on your uninsured/underinsured motorist? Hell they will T-Bone you or rear end you too in normal traffic.

It's only like 6 years in prison if you mow down four pedestrians D E A D while texting. Well one lingered awhile racking up medical bills.


I will make a hands free phone call and let the professionals handle it. Maybe laws to stop and render aid... I made a phone call for them: F off.

Off road is different.
 

MrMarty51

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Working for the DOT over here, many years ago it was okay to pull someone out of the ditch.
Somebody got hirt and the state had to pay big. That ended that.
One day heading out on repairs, some guy had slid off the road, wanted me to pull him out. Told him I could not do that. The best I could do for him was to park back a ways and let My beacon light run. He got pissed off. He just cussed me out even more when I explained how it was. Told Him I could radio in for a tow truck, which I did. I got in my service truck, backed up a ways and let the flashers and beacon light run until the wrecker got there.
I figured if I drove off before he got pulled out of the ditch and a vehicle hit him or his vehicle, the state and possibly myself would be in for one huge lawsuit.
 

FellowTraveler

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Well done, Fellow. A lot pulling power for sure. So long as you have good traction that arrangement could pull out most things. I've never used a hydro winch. I use a Warn MT12000 which seems to work for me well enough. How do you like the hydro?
It's a Mile Marker 12k and I've been happy with it's performance, running two (2) coolers one is the factory in chassis rail type and the other large fin plate type.
 

DMT

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As @Will L. Mentioned. I don't stop and help people anymore. I used too. @DMT You done a good thing, now, I suggest you stop it. It's simply too dangerous and liability. I would seriously reconsider your stance on it, suggest calling 911 instead, and let the professionals deal with it.
Maybe had I continued living where I did before, in and near big east and west coast cities, I would be at that point too. Thanksfully, I got out of Portland just before the city lost its way. But I chose to move to a gentler place, a tightly-knit community in farm country where neighbors know and help each other, crime is low, police are benign and probably too lenient actually (I might share a related story another time). Basically, I live in Mayberry. So I'll probably continue to haul around extraction gear and step in and help a traumatized teen who ran her dad's Jeep into a ditch or other situations where I can help. If they are too complicated, yeah, I'll probably not make the attempt, but this one looked to be easy, and in fact it was. The whole thing was over in a few minutes.

Speaking of the teen, last night at a neighborhood party I got the full download about the driver from the teen boys who were at the scene. As it turns out, the teen boys from the neighborhood who I recognized were not actually with the driver, but just happened to see her drive into the ditch, went over to her and told her to leave it alone, convincing her that she couldn't get out on her own. They also comforted her while she was upset over the situation. She is from a town a few miles away. She wasn't familiar with the Jeep, as it was her dad's, not the car she usually drives. She was alone, took a wrong turn, didn't know the area, got frustrated and lost patience. Instead of turning around in a wider place maybe 100 yards down the road, she decided to make a U turn in a narrow section and apparently didn't see the ditch or know that it was there. Then she couldn't reach her dad on the phone and called her mom, who got angry with her. This is about the time I showed up. I saw that she was crying and stressed out. So I threw in and helped. Seemed pretty straightforward at the time. And I have no regrets. Probably would do it again.
 

JayTheCPA

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Yup. There is a universal law: no good deed goes unpunished.

Know somebody who lives down a long paved driveway that loops around a few other houses and returns back to the road. Everybody on that loop enjoyed trash service as the truck toured through the driveway to collect trash which saved everybody a ~500' - 700' trek out to the road. Then one day the truck happened to stray off the paved driveway, went across the ground, and left a rut. One of the residents called to complain about the truck's irresponsible driver. The rut got fixed and the truck never went down the driveway again. Brilliant...


Even with the risks of helping others, I do still stop and assist. But I size up the deal before putting any real effort into the situation. Honest mistakes are one thing, but blatant stupidity will just have to play itself out.

As some examples, I would probably help that Jeep driver as well. Young, old, male, female, would not matter. Genuine mistakes happen.

But I did witness a distracted driver stray 10' off the road and take out a utility pole in a residential area. The only efforts I did were: 1) Instructed (not asked) the teen idiots to get away from the car as it was now part of a utility pole which dangled from high voltage wires (versus supporting their weight) and had them gather at a safe distance should a wire let-lose. They wanted to hang around the car to take pictures and survey damage. 2) Called 911. 3) Asked a buddy to go downrange and stop traffic. 4) Used one of my vehicles to block traffic in the opposite direction from my buddy. There was a blind hill between the two stop points. 5) When LE and other first responders arrived, allowed them to take over. Goal here was to make sure everybody was safe until the utility company could start temporary repairs. I never even got a thanks from the Mom whom came to collect the teens. Nice...
 

FellowTraveler

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Yup. There is a universal law: no good deed goes unpunished.

Know somebody who lives down a long paved driveway that loops around a few other houses and returns back to the road. Everybody on that loop enjoyed trash service as the truck toured through the driveway to collect trash which saved everybody a ~500' - 700' trek out to the road. Then one day the truck happened to stray off the paved driveway, went across the ground, and left a rut. One of the residents called to complain about the truck's irresponsible driver. The rut got fixed and the truck never went down the driveway again. Brilliant...


Even with the risks of helping others, I do still stop and assist. But I size up the deal before putting any real effort into the situation. Honest mistakes are one thing, but blatant stupidity will just have to play itself out.

As some examples, I would probably help that Jeep driver as well. Young, old, male, female, would not matter. Genuine mistakes happen.

But I did witness a distracted driver stray 10' off the road and take out a utility pole in a residential area. The only efforts I did were: 1) Instructed (not asked) the teen idiots to get away from the car as it was now part of a utility pole which dangled from high voltage wires (versus supporting their weight) and had them gather at a safe distance should a wire let-lose. They wanted to hang around the car to take pictures and survey damage. 2) Called 911. 3) Asked a buddy to go downrange and stop traffic. 4) Used one of my vehicles to block traffic in the opposite direction from my buddy. There was a blind hill between the two stop points. 5) When LE and other first responders arrived, allowed them to take over. Goal here was to make sure everybody was safe until the utility company could start temporary repairs. I never even got a thanks from the Mom whom came to collect the teens. Nice...
That ungrateful Mom has some karma coming into her life...
 
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