Many people think that driving a truck sounds like a boring job. While some truckers travel to exciting locations, many merely go back and forth down the same, monotonous stretch of highway. Snooze-fest, right? That’s what they want us to think.
I recently discovered the existence of a secret game that car drivers are not supposed to know about; a game they call, Trucker’s Leapfrog.
In children’s Leapfrog, one child bends over, scrunches down and the next child pushes off the first child’s back, going up and over. In the trucker’s version, car drivers have to bend over and take it as one rig passes or “leaps” another truck on the highway.
You’ve probably witnessed a game if you’ve ever been on a highway. The object is for the leaping truck, the Top Frog, to maximize the time it takes to pass another truck, the Under Frog, without going over the maximum allowable hang time of ½ hour. This limit lessens the risk that car drivers (called Bugs,) will give in to road-rage.
Victory requires more than long leap times, though. The complicated scoring system factors in:
- time of day (more points for rush hour)
- speed of the lead car driver (Bug) when the Top Frog pulls out and cuts him off
- amount of rubber left by the lead Bug when he slams on his brakes to avoid hitting the Top Frog
- number of Bugs stuck behind the Top Frog during his leap (his Tail)
It is possible to play Trucker’s Leapfrog on a multi-lane, super highway, but advanced players prefer only 2 lanes going each direction. That’s the secret to snagging a truly impressive Tail of frustrated Bugs.
The current grand champion is Jackson “Bubba” Johnson. His prize-winning leap was on I-75 outside of Atlanta at 7:30 on a Monday morning. His Consolidated Freight rig was going 60.25 mph when he pulled out to leap past a Con-Way rig going 60.243 mph. Bubba cut off an Audi coming up in the left lane at 82 mph and that car laid 50 feet of rubber down on the road as it squealed to a stop to avoid a collision. Bubba’s leap clocked in at 29 minutes and 45 seconds, nail-bitingly close to disqualification. He was pulling an impressive 57-Bug Tail by the time he edged smoothly back into the right lane ahead of the Con-Way rig.
You may be wondering how I found out about Trucker’s Leapfrog since it’s such a closely guarded secret. I got in the middle of a game on I-80 last week.
It was 4:30 pm on a Friday and traffic was heavy with commuters getting out of Chicago for the weekend. I was zooming along in the left lane, and was about to pass a couple of tractor-trailers when one of them, an Old Dominion rig, cut in front of me with mere inches to spare. He was going slower than Great Aunt Fanny out for a Sunday drive. It seems I was the lead Bug in his leap past a U.S. Mail double trailer. Judging by how long I was stuck behind Old Dominion, it was clear I was dealing with a master Leapfrog player.
Now that you know about Trucker’s Leapfrog, I’m sure you’ll be delighted the next time you have to play. If you ever have to travel on a US highway, I can practically guarantee that will be soon. And if you’re reading this, Bubba, here’s a word of warning; watch out for a guy driving for Old Dominion. He’s gunning for your title.