More Lorry Driver Urban Legends

Autos & TrucksTrucks

  • Author Lyall Cresswell
  • Published December 5, 2008
  • Word count 745

I’ve written about lorry driver urban legends before, but they just keep cropping up all over the internet. I’m not sure quite why lorry drivers and their vehicles often seem to be at the centre of these kinds of stories – my theory is that it’s the lorry drivers themselves who spread them while running haulage jobs and return loads all over the world! Perhaps it is just that many urban legends take place on the road, and lorry drivers make for convenient and plausible participants. However they spread, these stories are here to stay, and they get wilder and more outlandish with every retelling. Here are five of the best (and one of them is even true!)

Don’t Mess With The Lorry Driver

According to this legend, three bikers arrive in a café and see a lorry driver sitting on his own. For some reason they decide it will be fun to pick on him. They drink his coffee, pour pepper over him, and eat most of his food. The lorry driver does nothing, simply eats what is left, pays the bill and leaves. Afterwards, one of the bikers says to the waiter, "He wasn’t much of a fighter, was he?" The waiter, who is looking outside, replies "He wasn’t much of a driver either; he just backed his lorry straight over three motorcycles parked outside!"

True or False? It wouldn’t surprise me if this was true, since lorry drivers are renowned for their non-nonsense nature, but there are no recorded instances of this actually happening. A scene similar to this has appeared several times on film (for example, in Smokey and the Bandit and Every Which Way But Loose) indicating that it probably belongs in the realms of fiction.

Loose Load = Decapitation

Here’s a story about a gruesome kind of "return load"! As a motorcyclist is driving behind a lorry, a loose sheet of metal slips from the back of the lorry and decapitates him. The now headless driver, propelled by the momentum of the bike, travels past the lorry driver, who sees the motorcyclist, has a heart attack, and crashes his lorry.

True or False? It was false, but it recently became true! The original story is an urban legend that has been around for decades and has dozens of variations, but gruesomely enough, similar events occurred in 2001. 43 year old Linda Riojas was decapitated by a sheet of metal that apparently fell from a lorry in front and went through her windshield before landing next a Bible in the back seat. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

"Wait, is that a-"

A biker is on the road at night (what is it about lorry drivers and bikers in urban legends?) sees two bikers coming down the other side of the road. He decides to show off by riding in between them and turns into the oncoming lane. But at the very last moment, he sees that it isn’t two bikes on the road ahead of him, but the headlights of a lorry.

True or False? Definitely false – this one has been kicking around for a long time, told as either a joke or a spooky campfire story. A variation of it even appears in the 1921 film Hard Luck, where Buster Keaton attempts to commit suicide by standing in front of a car (seen only by its headlights) and is instead passed by two bemused motorcyclists.

The Al-Qaida Return Load

Shortly after September 11th, an email did the rounds warning that over thirty rental trucks and lorries had gone missing "taken by Arabic looking men", presumably for a follow up attack.

True or False? Completely false. The three companies mentioned in the original email (Ryder, U-Haul and Verizon) said that none of their lorries had gone missing, and it seems to have been just another email hoax.

Deadly Shipment

A lorry filled with ten tonnes of cyanide is hijacked in Mexico for reasons unknown; terrorism is strongly suspected. The lorry is found days later, but is missing its lethal cargo.

True or False? True! Although it had nothing to do with terrorism (and it is likely that the hijackers weren’t even aware of what the lorry was carrying) in February 2002 a lorry was stopped and hijacked by three armed gunmen in Mexico. A few days later, the lorry was found, but with some of the cyanide missing. What happened to it, no one knows…

Lyall Cresswell is the Managing Director for the Transport Exchange Group. Haulage Exchange, their freight exchange for the 7.5 tonne and above market, offers an independent environment for its members to exchange loads and manage their groupage.

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