Four Wheelers and Trucking

It seems there would be a chapter in all driver's ed classes that focuses entirely on sharing the road with trucks. I will attempt to help bridge that gap a little with this insight that will cover some of the things that we do and why. Plus what you can do to help us help you make negotiating traffic a more enjoyable experience.

Sharing the Road With Truckers

Sometimes you might think we are being aggressive or a dick because of how we drive. There several things to consider.

For one, a big truck is operated differently than a four wheeler. So when we are in the middle lane or taking up two lanes to make a right turn, it's because that is the only way we can make the turn. Not because we just want to.

Don't squeeze by a turning truck

One reason for this, is because four wheelers coming out of the the street that we are turning into will see us wanting to make the turn.

Instead of giving us space or backing up so that we can swing wide to make the turn, they try to beat us to position or sit there as if it's nothing they could do to make the turn.

We have to turn wide to make the turn.  If you see us coming please stop.  Also, when you see us turning right, and you are coming behind us. DO NOT pull up on the right side when we turn wide, we may not see you.

There may be other times in traffic that you may think poorly of us. I won't remember all of the occasions here but here is another...

When a truck driver pulls out of a driveway in front of you, or makes a turn in front of you with less space than either of us desires.

We do take you into consideration and know that you see us making a move. Most of the time, we also see that there is a red light which means you have to stop anyway. Other times, it is simply the longest break we have seen and it's like now or never, but we always gauge your speed and determine that you can simply stop accelerating for a few seconds and we will be across.

The problem comes in mostly because drivers of the cars will speed up when they see us trying to get out or make the turn.

This is ridiculous.

Just maintaining normal speed without even touching the brake or slowing down for the red light just on the other side of us is all that is needed for both of us to be happy and effectively share the highway.

The other issue is that so often we sit and sit and sit for a break in traffic in order to pull out or turn only for the four wheeler to pull right up to the driveway that we are pulling out of and turn in at the last minute without signaling or signaling once completely slowed to turn.

By then all of the traffic to your opposite side has now caught up to you and the truck driver who sat there being courteous for you, finds out that you were turning but didn't use your turn signal.

So that is another reason why we wait for the minimum amount of break in traffic needed to pull out or make a turn safely and not with greater distances of a break in traffic.

Relax, you won't be put that much behind.

If you will......

  • Give us a break on the road in your travels, pause for us when you see us waiting to make a turn instead of speeding up. Let us out in traffic on busy streets sometimes (like good drivers do for you). WE would greatly appreciate this
  • Use your turn signals correctly.
  • When we signal to change lanes let us over. Stop breaking your necks to get in front of us only to brake excessively to exit.

It is dangerous and stupid to slam on the break in front of us. Plus it wastes your fuel and increases wear and tear on your car. We are just trying to deliver the freight you want at the stores.

More Defensive Driving Tips for Sharing the Road With Truckers

  • Do not ride beside big trucks. Either pass or fall back to a safe following distance. Think about it....

    Can you see in front of us when you are tailgating us?

    The answer is no.

    If some fools cuts in front of us and then jams on the brakes to exit or turn into a driveway you won't know until you see our brake light or bumper in your windshield.

    If you rear end that truck you are not gonna push it. It will almost like a tree.

  • Do not ride close behind up - You shouldn't ride beside any vehicle without a reason. I don't see what sense that makes but . . .

    Especially Not A Big Truck Because . . .

    One reason...If something happens to the vehicle in front of us or you (heart attack, sneeze, fall asleep) and emergency actions is needed the truck and you have issues.

    Second reason... is that we have blindspots on the sides of the trailer. If you ride there at the same speed that we are, it is possible that we won't even know that you are there and switch lanes right on top of you.

    (If you can't see us in the mirror we can't see you but that doesn't mean ride there in our mirror for 5 minutes before moving on)

    Third reason... Ever notice the tire guard or mud flaps racks on trucks where the tires blew out and bent it all up. (if not you've seen a car that a tire tore up the fender well.)

    Big truck tires are under a lot more pressure than car tires. If one blows off with you riding beside it, it could damage your car or shatter your window and smack you in the face.

    Or it could give you a heart attack, sounds like a shot gun sometimes! lol

  • Always give us the space of at least another tractor trailer before pulling back in our lane after you pass.

  • Always use your turn signals
  • If you see a truck going slow, don't slow down to his speed. The truck is governed.
  • If going up a hill the slow is slowing down because weight, DO NOT slow down beside him backing highway traffic up.
Things can go wrong very quickly on the highway. They can be unpredictable and until you are in an accident, you really can't understand just how quickly, so take my word for it.

It takes a split second and a combination of things to occur at once and life changing or life ending disaster can strike. For your safety, these driving tips should be taken seriously.

What Are Truckers Like?

Understand that everything you see in the movies or hear in the old truckers songs don't describe the average trucker. It's entertainment. Those characters represent a very small fraction of wanna be rebels in the trucking industry. And some of the characters represent no one. They are just characters to grab your interests.

No doubt you have heard a few stories about truck drivers who make poor decision which lead to destroying the family at home. If not putting a spouse in complete misery for years.

I wish I could say that this doesn't happen. Of course it happens. This happens in homes of people who are not truckers, except the people don't belong to sub groups of society often so it is labeled to anything that they do.

Actors, Artist, Rich People (neither viewed as negatively as truckers) are the exception. They belong to a subgroup and so garner certain responses when stories of cheating are in the news.

I digress...What is important here is to remember that there are 3.5 million truckers and counting. Of course you have heard of or know of some drive who made a dumb decision and cheated on his/her spouse at home and destroyed the family. The number you heard of doing this is a tiny fraction of total truck drivers.

Most drivers who are family men are not interested in creating these problems at home. He/she is on the road to make a living to take care of that family at home.

When you hear someone referring to all truckers being trashy correct them and let people know that most trucker's character and morals are not much different than that of the average citizen.

How Does All of This Affect You

It matters because the way a person thinks dictates his/her behavior. If you are sharing the road with us while having contempt for us, being frightened by us or just having no respect for us as truck drivers (or the huge truck it'self for that matter) if will show in the way that you interact with us on the road.

The driving behavior that I described creates stress for drivers. Well, especially the new drivers. Most of the older drivers are used to it, but again that is why we pull out and such.

If we all had more concerned for the other driver, sharing the road would be more less stressful AND more safe for all.

Further more, this stress carries over into families, this in turn creates more stress on the driver. This puts non focused drivers on the road (because as I stated drivers DO care about home)

If drivers are on the road because they are stressed about the job or relationships at home they more of a hazard on the road. Some of them quit.

In case you don't know, there is a high turn over rate in trucking. It is a complex issue but the stress is often a factor. Higher turn over means less profit margin for trucking companies. Less profit margin means higher freight charges. Higher freight charges means you end up paying more for products.

Ohhhh, now you see. lol.

Yep at the end of the day, even you are affected by the negativity in the trucking industry which includes your own behavior towards the truck drivers.

It's basically like anything else in life. It's all connected at some point. What we put out and how we treat others comes back to us before it's all over in some way, shape or form.

If you want to go even further in understanding the trucker lifestyle, read through the information on the site to get into the minds and lifestyle of truckers. Especially, the advantages and disadvantages of being a trucker
Defensive Driving Tips

Tips For Sharing the Road With Truckers

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