Fred Gorosh has experienced a lot of excitement behind the wheel of a car: he is well known for racing at Saratoga Speedway in Black Creek on Vancouver Island. He also has “millions” of kilometres under his belt in a 51-year career driving trucks.
Gorosh elicited some gasps from social media watchers last month after posting a dashcam video from the Kenworth transport truck that he drives, of a near-miss collision thanks to an impatient driver trying to pass him on Highway 4.
Gorosh drives between Port Alberni and Campbell River twice a day, hauling a chip trailer full of wood chips, or hog fuel, for a mill in Port Alberni. The trailer is 53 feet long, making his entire rig—including his Kenworth—75 feet long. The video shows a passenger van approaching him at the end of the passing lanes heading up to the top of the Hump, or Alberni Summit on Highway 4, and passing him on a double yellow line. A vehicle coming in the other direction had to swerve out of the way, and Gorosh laid on his horn to alert traffic.
“Shortly after that I’m going into the brake check anyway,” he said.
Gorosh has been driving a truck for 51 years. “I’ve pretty much done North America,” he says. He used to haul staging equipment for musical acts such as Kenny Rogers, Bryan Adams and Supertramp.
“I’ve probably got somewhere around five million kilometres behind me. After New York City, Port Alberni isn’t that much of a big deal.”
“I have a collection of these videos,” says Gorosh, who drives his route between Campbell River and Port Alberni five days a week.
“I see that probably at least once a month.”
It’s close calls like this one that prompted Gorosh to get a dashcam in the first place. “Most people have respect for these trucks, but more and more don’t,” he said. “It’s getting worse and worse all the time.”
He recalled an incident prior to installing his dashcam where a 3/4-ton van tried passing him illegally. “He ran two oncoming vehicles off the road,” Gorosh said. He was able to stop and have a chat with that driver.
Another time, returning from Toquart Bay, he was driving up a steep hill past Kennedy Lake and a vehicle passed him on an s-curve. “As he passed me, I looked down and he had a young wife and a baby strapped into a seat.”
Further down the road, Gorosh saw the car again, this time on the side of the road and on fire. He helped the man pull his wife and child out of the burning car, and thankfully no one was injured.
“You’re just risking a lot of stuff for nothing,” he says.
Gorosh said he did not send the video in question to the RCMP, because his dashcam isn’t of good enough quality to have captured the licence plate. He posts his videos on Facebook “as a self-defence mechanism,” he says. “I’m hoping someone recognizes these idiots and tells them they’re being published and to stop doing this.”
Passing like that on the highway won’t gain you much time, he adds. There was a famous trucking line out of the eastern US that conducted an experiment, he said. One truck used the fast lane and moved in and out of traffic to try to get from point A to point B. The second truck went the speed limit.
“The guy that ran flat out beat the other truck by 13 minutes. That was over a distance of 3,600 miles.
“If you just drive steadily at a steady speed, it’s actually the fastest way.”
Gorosh is a defensive driver in his truck—he has to be, he says. “It’s part of the job. I see this stuff coming, but that guy (on the Hump) took me by surprise.”
Gorosh will be 69 later this year, and he thinks about retiring. “I think one more year and I’ll hang it up.
“I love what I do. It’s all I ever wanted to do, was be a driver.”