When ah were but a slip o' a lad I went t'college for t'learn all abaht compewtuhs an' th' like.
(Sorry, can't keep that up, it's hurting my brain)
I had this lecturer, can't remember his name for the life of me, he was great... Funny, knowledgeable, mad as a hat full of colossal squids at an all you can eat Japanese restaurant and a martyr to borderline dissociative identity disorder. He'd come to be a Computer Science teacher after a long time as an HGV driver in the late 70's and he told a couple of stories once that came to me this morning after seeing a 42 tonne truck driver trying to back a container truck down a farm track.
He'd been working for this particular company for a few months, when they sent him on a trip to the sea-side on a nice summers day to deliver some... ah... some... Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter what it was, but he did his drop and thought that he'd park up and have a bit of a snooze in his cab. So, he found one of those carparks that you sometimes see that have extended parking spaces for coaches and suchlike, got a nice spot where he could open his windows to hear the sea and dropped off. (I mean go to sleep, it wasn't right on the cliff edge or anything)
He woke up some hours later, looked at the clock, realised that he was late, yelled some expletives, started the truck up and started out of the Carpark. The first thing that he had to was do a sharp left turn to get out of the parking space... And that's where the noise started, it continued when he straightened up, it was an odd kind of a grinding / dragging noise. He stopped and looked in his mirrors thinking that he'd hit a litter bin or something, but couldn't see anything. So he pulled forwards about ten yards and the noise not only started again, but the trailer started to bounce up and down.
Then he thought that maybe the trailer brakes had jammed on and the wheels weren't turning, so he got out of the cab, and that's when he saw it - there was a car, underneath the lorry, in between the cab and the trailer wheels. It was a convertible MGB with the top down, it must have been parked next to him as he was asleep, then as the cab swung around it'd gone between the wheels and he'd dragged it along.
Only thing was, the old chap it belonged to had seen him do it, well, he couldn't really miss him doing it, as he, and his wife, were sat in it eating their sandwiches at the time.
He moved companies shortly afterwards.
Another day, another company, this time he was up in the Dales (Think proper Last of the Summer Wine country) and he was completely lost. Remember that this was before GPS Systems and mobile phones and all he had was the 1965 AA Book of the Road and a hand-written list of instructions taped to the dashboard.
He did a heroic job of trying to find the place he was supposed to be delivering to, but ended up in this little village where there was every likelihood that he was going to get roughly sodomised and then eaten. It was hilly, very hilly and the signage was confusing, the roads hadn't been built with 8' wide, 60' long trucks in mind and he'd started to panic a bit.
Eventually he pulled over and asked this pregnant woman for directions. Unfortunately, the combination of driving a right hand drive truck on the left, where the height of the cab means that you're 10' up in the air meant that she couldn't really hear what he was saying. Saying turned to shouting, shouting and growing panic turned to yelling, and the yelling brought on the crying from the young lady. He immediately regretted what he'd done, climbed down out of the cab, stuck two fingers up to the queue of traffic behind him and apologised deeply to the person whose only crime was to try to be a good Samaritan.
Let's look at that list of actions again shall we? Just to see if anything obvious is missing:
Hilly village, Pull over, ask directions, shout, yell, regret, get out of truck, abuse other drivers, console pregnant women.
No, that all seems... Ah, wait a minute... Did you spot it?
Not a single mention of a handbrake.
The truck started to roll and gathered speed quite quickly really, by all accounts, and went off straight down the hill in the middle of the road. people were screaming, children were pointing, our hero was sprinting after it, dogs lay with cats and a mighty voice from above declared 'AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO'S NOTICED THAT THERE'S A T-JUNCTION AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BLOODY HILL?' And God was right, there was a T-Junction, and on the other side of the T-Junction were more houses and shops.
Luckily, the truck had started to weave about a little by this point and clipped a Talbot Sunbeam, which wasn't big enough to stop it, but was just right to divert it enough to get it around the corner so that it could grind along the row of shops and houses, ripping off signs and smashing windows until it ground to a halt outside the local Police station.
It was shortly after that that he left driving for ever, got himself a degree, and became a teacher.
Safer for everyone I think.