Spare Key

So most of us Wind Turbine Techs drive these big fancy pick up trucks, and they come with a key fob (The Ram trucks do anyway). Inside of that key fob, there’s a spare key that’s designed to allow you to unlock the door. May I suggest that you remove that spare key, place it in a magnetic hide-a-key box, and hide that somewhere on your truck?

Do be sure to hide it somewhere out of sight, and somewhere that if it were to fall (since we spend so much time on bumpy roads) it would be caught by another part, like in the rear bumper, or under the bed rail.

You’re welcome. 🙂

High Beams

High beams, ‘brites’, ‘long-see-in-dark’, or just brights, they’re all the same; BRIGHT. I’ve collected a wide range of driving experience over the last several years, and this is one of the big issues that continues to plague me, as well as many other drivers.

While the laws will vary slightly from place to place, here’s the general breakdown of when you should be using your high beams:

1) Anytime it’s after sunset, but before sunrise, AND there’s no approaching traffic within 500′ or so, and no traffic ahead of you (going the same direction) within 300′ or so.

2) When using them as a warning device to warn other drivers of some immediate danger.

When NOT to use your brights:

1) For any reason outside of the above two reasons, and anytime your brights will be shining brightly into someone else’s eyes!!

Yep, it really is that simple. I’ll talk about general light usage, and using your lights as a communications device in other posts, but here’s some examples of when you should or should not use your brights:

When someone is passing you (hopefully on the left!!), and you want to let them know they’re clear to move back over, DO NOT FLASH YOUR BRIGHT LIGHTS. Bright lights flashing mean, “DANGER!”. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, DON’T do it! The first issue is that it means “Danger!”, so the passing driver should cease the lane-change, recover, and evaluate the area around him/her to determine what the danger is or was.

During the day, bright lights are bright enough to shine directly into the eyes of the driver (especially for people who properly adjust their mirrors!!), and at night, they’re just down-right blinding!!

I was driving down a hill one night in a very cold and snowy area, and approaching a stop sign where my road “tees” into another road. There was traffic coming from both sides on that road, and as I began to brake my vehicle, I lost traction and started sliding. I began lightly feathering the brake, I geared down, and I flashed my high beams rapidly to warn other drivers that I was an imminent danger. I was able to regain traction and come to a complete stop just past the stop sign, but the other drivers had already begun evasive action to avoid a collision with me if I had not regained traction. This is a great way to use your high beams.

Another great way to use your high beams is to give a quick double-tap to oncoming traffic when there’s an issue ahead of them; a collision, pop-up construction, disabled vehicle, and yes, even police presence (the laws vary on this one, so do some research first). The idea is to show two quick flashes, far enough away from oncoming traffic so that it doesn’t blind them, and without flashing someone directly in front of you (that, too, will be another post).

Here’s the bottom line: Remember that your high beams are very bright, and outside of using them to see clearly at night in very dark areas with no other traffic around, they should only ever be used as a warning device.

Perception

One of the common problems I see among people in the field is how much value they place in their perception of another.

I’m a, “Say what you mean and mean what you say” kind of guys, and I find myself having to say that a few times at each site I go to. I take the words of others the same way, I treat them as if they simply mean what they said, and they say what they mean, which is a much simpler way to get things done.

Oh so often I find that some people just don’t have that clear communication thing down quite right, and they end up frustrated because they’re not getting the response they expected, even though they didn’t speak their intentions clearly. Then things get worse when they make assumptions about the meaning behind what other people say, or their actions, and they take it to another level. In the vane of, “Bitching about something without offering a solution is just bitching”, let me suggest this:

Take people at face value. Don’t add your own perception onto it, and don’t judge people, just take it as it comes, and expect people to say what they mean, and mean what they say, just as we all should be doing.

Attitude

Winners get shit done, losers talk about getting shit done. Be a winner.

Your attitude is a result of the way people treat you, and how you choose to respond. So many times I see people respond with anger, justification, fear, greed, or some sense of superiority; stop that, stop all of that.

You have a choice, every minute of every day, to present yourself any way you choose. Are you presenting someone who others want to follow, or are you presenting someone who others want to avoid? Worse, are you presenting someone that others want to get rid of?

While I don’t waste my time worrying about the opinions of others, I do make a point to maintain focus on what my attitude should be:

I’m here to do a job, and i need to focus on that job.

I’m here to help my fellow techs in any way I can, without stepping outside the bounds of my job.

I’m here to see that we’re all working safely and with a mindset of quality.

If you work with me, you’ll probably hear me say, “I’m here to commission turbines and chew bubblegum, and I ain’t got no bubblegum”. Pro tip: I don’t chew gum. 😉

Safety

Safety, safety, safety. We hear about it all the time. We talk about it every morning. Then we go into the field, and I see some folks just forget about it.

If you’re doing something that’s un-safe for you, i’m going to talk to you directly, and see if you understand, and if you care to know.

If you’re doing something that’s un-safe to other technicians, I will personally see to it you get removed from site immediately, and I will not make any exceptions to that; other technicians lives are on the line, and i’ll be damned if i’m going to stand idly by while you place others in harms way.

That being said, let me encourage you to have a mindset of safety, all day, every day, in every thing you do. Think about what you’re about to do, think about what could go wrong, and think about how you can prevent issues before they become problems. That’s what safety is all about.

Also know this: Every tower, every technician, every day: If we go up together, we come down together, and i’ll bet my life on it.