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Oh Gosh! I Backed My Precious Amazon Vehicle into a Snow-Filled Ditch

I've been an Amazon driver for about seven months now and have worn these boots in winter and spring.


Photo by Viktor Hanacek of Picjumbo

Amazon drivers can be so embarrassingly irresponsible at times. If you haven't heard of an Amazon driver mistakenly driving into a snow-filled ditch then you have definitely been missing out. Just a few days ago, I backed into an unseen ditch and the incident could've been totally avoided; I was torn apart by the matter and at a cold disadvantage for hours. Getting stuck in a ditch as an Amazon driver can be a very costly matter that no one in their right mind would want to have to endure. Let me tell you my story.

I drove my Amazon delivery van forward into a customer's driveway covered in about one and a half-inch thickness of snow. No worries initially. However, after delivering a package and proceeding to back out of the driveway, I accidentally drove off course. Unfortunately, my right two tires ended up inside of a ditch and my left two tires were slightly elevated off of the driveway - oh boy!

One fear after another took over my body, not to mention I was out in the cold for over three hours - a very shaky situation.

A customer's driveway was covered in snow (about an inch and a half high) and hadn't been plowed. The right approach to this visual is to park the vehicle at the curb and walked the length of the driveway to deliver the package to the customer. I didn't so. Instead, I took a risk by being the first to add tire tracks in the snow on the customer's driveway. Driving forward went well, it was the backward motion that cost me my pride. My manager told us, "if the roads are too risky, do not travel on them". Silly me. Hard-headed.

It had snowed the day before, the customer's property was covered in fresh snow, maybe a few footsteps from other delivery drivers took away the snow's innocence. The appearance of the customer's yard was that of a normal yard because of the snow covering but that visual was false. Normal meaning, a driveway and just a typical grassy yard on each side of it, just like the example photo below.


Photo by terng99 of iStockphoto

It was just my luck that instead of a typical yard area on the outsides of the driveway, there was a ditch that ran a drainage pipe underneath. When I backed up off course on the snowy driveway, as I attempted to straighten my reverse travel, my tires slid off of the driveway into a ditch (maybe 8 inches) filled with snow.

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The outcome of the incident took on an interesting process that I couldn't see. Because I thought the driveway was surrounded by typical grassy areas, once my back right tire rolled off of the driveway I turned the wheel to roll my tire out of the ditch. Unfortunately, my back right tire did not return to the driveway's pavement. I put the vehicle in forward drive to proceed forward but my back tire did not have traction. Not certain of all that happened during my attempt to escape the ditch, but I'm certain I turned the wheel and stomped on the gas at least five times, creating a muddy mess in the customer's yard. Somehow, my right front tire was in the ditch as well. When my vehicle was just one escape attempt away from tipping over I carefully exited the vehicle. Once I was on the outside of the vehicle and was able to see the damage I did, I was defeated as a person.

The final image of this incident struck fear in me so severely that I froze as if It was because of the freezing temperature. The customer's yard was muddy and destroyed by the constant turning of the tires and directional changes to escape their yard, leaving deep tire tracks that are sure to cost the customer hundreds or even thousands of dollars. My vehicle was tilted with just a push away from completely lying on its right side. My right-sided tires were dug into the soil. I can only think that my job would be lost after this disaster.

What did the customer say and do about this mishap?

After I landed myself in a ditch, the customer (an elderly lady) steps outside immediately afterward to tell me that there is a drainage pipe that runs under a ditch. Because her yard was damaged, she took down my name and company name for her reference to report the matter to perhaps have her yard reconstructed at no cost to her. On the bright side, she offered food, water, a blanket, and a place to sit while I waited for a rescue from my company. She had a good attitude about the entire screw-up and checked on me every so often to make sure I was ok. We talked about my stupidity and even laughed about it.

What did management do as a punishment?

When dispatch arrived on the scene in a Dodge Pick up truck, their head shook in disappointment and followed with a statement regarding that the incident could have been avoided. Right after shaming me, they immediately realized that they were unable to pull me out of the ditch due to the position my vehicle rested and so they'd have to pay $250 for a tow. Looking at the damage done to the customer's yard, they also mentioned that the customer will file a damage report, which means more money to expense, definitely more than $250. Although I screwed up big time, the worse that happened as a punishment was having to go home early after the tow truck driver got me out of the ditch; coming to work the following day, and being sent gone within 10 minutes due to new route uncertainty (so they say). They didn't suspend or fire me. I'm sure it's because I've been a hard and dedicated worker since I've joined the team, and rarely gave them a problem to be concerned about. I did apologize and vow to be more careful in the future to avoid stupid mistakes.

My Amazon van got stuck in clay

About four months before my recent ditch incident, I stupidly drove through a driveway that was partially wet clay and was restricted until towed. It had rained the day before, but unfortunately, I didn't consider rain mixed with clay before driving in a homeowner's driveway to turn around and go the opposite way. There was a wooded area right in front of my vehicle. What makes this incident hilarious is that to attempt to free myself from the wet clay I repeatedly drove forward in hopes to be able to gain traction, pick up momentum, and role out of the clay. But that didn't happen. I just kept getting stuck over and over and over again (while moving forward) until I couldn't go any further and ended up stuck in the woods. I appeared to be a complete idiot when it was all said and done - lol! A neighbor stopped by to tell me how stupid I was and that I should have known better to drive into wet clay - lol! He was furious because the lady was not only a neighbor but a friend. I didn't even argue with the guy or disagree because I surely made a stupid mistake by pulling into this homeowner's wet clay-filled driveway. Yes, her driveway was ruined, but it was mainly clay so could easily be fixed with care, a set of hands, and a shovel. It took me about 10-15 minutes to patch up the tire streaks; it looked a heck of a lot more presentable when I was done. The silly mistakes Amazon Drivers make - oh boy!

Amazon Drivers Can Destroy Your Property

Amazon drivers are trained drivers, yea, but human beings. If none of us has ever made a mistake then we'll be considered Gods. We crash into things! We drive on your grass and leave tire marks. We can even accidentally run over your dog if it gets in the way of our vehicle when backing our big van up and we've neglected to pay full attention (like trained) to our surroundings. With the strenuous activity of a workday as a driver, we can even get extremely annoyed and drive like a bat out of hell. But it's management, ourselves, and the neighbors who can contribute to ensuring drivers are following protocol and the laws (especially the speeding limit). Customers can stop a delivery driver while he is speeding to notify them that they're going too fast and even warn them that they'll get reported if they do not cooperate. Not only is property destroyed from being careless, but people can be more prone to being struck by an Amazon vehicle. With care and understanding of Amazon Drivers, together, we can make a difference and stop property, people, and even spirits from being damaged.

So, on a snow-filled day, I stupidly landed my Amazon delivery van into a ditch and was stuck outside in the cold for hours. Luckily, all of the hard work I put in throughout my tenure, credited me with being able to remain employed. Fear was a factor definitely for the future of my career as a delivery driver for the company which remained in my heart for an entire day (none stop worry). I'm glad we got the vehicle out of the ditch and were able to get it on the road again with no major damage. I still haven't got word on the cost of the customer's yard that I destroyed. But, because I'm a driver, I'm sure I never will know.

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