Nothing surprises me anymore

When you’re out on the roadway for a living, you hear, see and sometimes even experience scary moments. 
My name is Kenny Olson and I’m a Roadway Striping Foreman. I’ve been with KTA for 12 years and I have had more close calls on the roadway than many would think. Just last summer, I had vehicles hit at two different times while painting roadway lines.
Kenny Olson
One of these was in Wichita on the entrance ramp from the K-96 plaza. We were painting the white line on the right side, early in the morning when a driver came down the entry ramp way too fast.
Because of her speed, she wasn’t able to move out the way in time and hit the corner of our attenuator (the crash cushion hooked at the back of a truck) and then bounced and hit the guardrail. She was lucky she didn’t hit the truck again after that, but rather carried all the way through the right of way.
The other happened up near Lecompton where the road goes from three lanes to two. We were on the right with the striper when, for a reason I still don’t know today, a semi-truck locks up his brakes while in the left lane. His cab cut between the attenuator truck and the truck ahead of it, and jack-knifed.
The trailer whipped so fast that it hit the attenuator sideways and ended up back in the roadway, blocking traffic. The driver just backed up and drove away! Luckily a trooper caught up to him at a service area soon after.
These are just my two most recent experiences, but there’s been so many more. From a vehicle not paying attention and actually driving between the barrier wall and our striping machine to another driver purposely driving into the grass and back up onto the road to avoid driving through the work zone. Nothing surprises me anymore, and that’s the sad reality.
We can take as many safety precautions as necessary, making changes to safety procedures, but ultimately, drivers need to pay attention. People are in such a hurry, on their phones, or even having a dog on their lap licking their face (yes, that was a real thing I saw once on the road). Leave sooner. Watch the roadway signs. Pay attention.


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