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Consideration From Truck Drivers Means Consideration For Truck Drivers

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Consideration From Truck Drivers Means Consideration For Truck Drivers

Most of us consider trucks and lorries to be the bane of any long distance journey by road. They’re big, they’re slow and they belch foul-smelling black smoke at us when we’re stuck behind them. We don’t know much about the drivers of these behemoths who sit above us, largely out of sight, other than that they seem to go out of their way to be as rude and obnoxious as possible. But appearances can be deceiving. Some truck drivers have banded together and begun writing blog posts on life on the road. A truck driver’s view, from on high, makes for an interesting perspective.

The most important thing that truck drivers want other road users to be aware of is that size matters. The fact that trucks can be six times as big and weigh twenty times as much as regular cars makes their handling interesting at the best of times. Michael Oleary emphasise this fact with the definition of inertia. He says that size is of primary importance in inertia. The bigger the object, the greater the energy required to interrupt its inertia at any point.

This is glaringly obvious to anyone who has seen a truck struggle to maintain momentum on an upward climb, or struggle to rein in momentum when hurtling down a particularly treacherous slope. It’s then that other drivers start to lose patience with fickle and inconsistent truck drivers, so easily forgetting how the needles on the speedometers of our much lighter vehicles race ahead as we crest hills. We label truck drivers as erratic while our variations in speed are put down to the effects of gravity and fuel-injected engines.

Something else that we tend to forget is our complete lack of visibility; at least as far as truck drivers are concerned. Oleary, Rozemarie, and Louis Albornoz all mention the importance of staying within a truck’s line of sight. Every truck is afflicted with four large blind-spots that no strategically placed mirrors can overcome: right behind the truck, directly ahead of the truck, and near the wheels on either side. An important indication of your visibility to the driver is his or her visibility to you. If you can’t see the driver in either of the wing mirrors, then the driver can’t see you. At the very least you should be able to see one wing mirror at all times. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

Show me a driver who has never rolled back and I’ll show you a mermaid, Bigfoot, and a leprechaun with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. If it’s easy for your light little car to roll back, imagine how easy it must be for a behemoth fighting the laws of gravity. Trucks roll, it’s part of their nature. A rolling truck is not indicative of bad driving, unless it’s rolling across three red lights during peak traffic, in which case someone should call an ambulance. Once you’ve accepted this basic fact, adjust for it. Don’t pull up right behind them at traffic lights, stop streets or when you’re expecting a slight pause. Leave a gap, which is something that you should be doing when pulling up behind all cars anyway. It’s not only safe, it’s courteous.

The last point mentioned here, but by no means the last word on the matter, is respect the safety cushion. When travelling in either congested traffic or on the open road, truck drivers leave a gap between themselves and the vehicles ahead of them. This is not a convenient stop gap for you to use as you weave your way along the road. This is the driver’s safety cushion that allows him or her time to react in emergency situations. If you occupy the emergency space, you risk becoming the emergency. Driving in the cushion also places you in the blind spot directly ahead of the truck. If the driver can’t see you, he or she can’t react to you. Continual safety cushion transgressors should ensure that all of their affairs are always in order.

The simplest tenet that truck drivers would like other drivers to bear in mind is courtesy. It’s also the simplest tenet that all drivers, regardless of vehicle size, would like other drivers to bear in mind. Bad manners on the road beget bad driving, which begets higher insurance premiums and ultimately begets wealthy funeral homes.

After all, as the golden rule, apparent in all major religions, states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, except truck drivers; those gits get what they have coming.”

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