Who's pushing all these dump trucks?

I frequently see dump trucks with a prominent sign on the back that says “No Pushing” or even “No Pushing!” Yesterday I saw one that said “If you must push, please do it carefully.”

So who’s pushing all these dump trucks? And why are they so averse to a little pushing?

Dump trucks often work on sites where they are driving on mud and can get stuck. The fastest way to get a dump truck unstuck is to push it with another piece of heavy equipment. Having a piece of heavy machinery slam into the back of another piece of heavy machinery isn’t exactly a healthy thing to do, hence the warnings. Don’t push the truck to get it unstuck. Pull it out with a cable instead, using cable attachment points on the truck’s frame that are specifically designed for it.

Huh. And here I thought it was an admonition to any giant kids, should they appear.

The hopper on a dump truck is basically just an attachment to a truck chassis. It’s got hydraulic lines and pistons and connection points that could be damaged, not to mention the rear dump gate that will not open or close properly if severely dented. A quick look on the intertoobs shows that even a 12-year old dump truck runs about $50,000, so it’s a significant investment.

Clearly they’re not built Tonka Tough. Of course, Tonkas aren’t Tonka Tough these days.

I’ve also seen a backhoe operator push a truck forward to a better position for filling by using the boom and digger bucket on the dump’s tailgate. I imagine those hydraulics could do some real damage in short order.

On a related note, aren’t a lot of dump trucks privately owned by the driver, an individual contractor? I see a lot of dump trucks that are festooned with the owner’s macho nickname, lots of decorative pin striping and so forth.
That might explain why they get touchy about being pushed. It’s his truck, not some employer’s truck.

Definitely true. A friend of mine owns a trucking company, and he complains bitterly about the treatment they get. The guys using heavy equipment to load his trucks don’t care if they start banging it up, or dropping huge loads from too high up, or just running into them sometimes. Every little part for those things costs a fortune.

Nobody believes me, but my little brother could destroy Tonka trucks. Not the new plastic ones, the old 60s steel trucks. My older brother and I had several trucks that despite our best efforts were only scratched and had a few small dents. When my little brother started to play with them they all became scrap metal within a short time. When they started the commercial where an elephant stepped on a Tonka truck people insisted I was just making it up, because nothing could destroy a Tonka truck.