I’m going to begin with my pet peeve………….aggressive truckers. Modern semi trailer trucks are vastly different from 50 years ago, and so are the drivers. Today’s diesel tractors have huge engines with twin turbos, that produce massive amounts of power ( and speed ). Years ago, it took semi trucks literally several miles to reach highway speed, and climbing steep grades was a low speed grind. Those days are gone for the most part, today’s trucks are not that much slower than the common family sedan. Modern trucks have much better brakes than the older trucks, but it takes a lot of time and distance to bring 80,000 pounds to a halt from 70 mph which most of these rigs run.

Trucks with semi trailers take up a lot of real estate. A rig with a 53 foot trailer, is about 80 feet bumper to bumper. That’s roughly about 5 car lengths. It can get a little dicey traveling on a popular truck route such as I-5 in your 3500 pound sedan, amidst a throng of behemoths. It shouldn’t be dicey, but the truck drivers today, are not the courteous drivers of yesteryear. These guys drive like maniacs. The reason that states regulates the speed of trucks is to keep them from totally dominating the highways. However, if the State Police are not active enough, that’s exactly what happens.

Now get ready, I’m going to introduce a racial factor into this discussion. There is an ever growing number of drivers from middle eastern countries and India. Sorry to say, these drivers are simply not on the same level as American drivers. When I see a truck weaving back and forth encroaching into the lanes on both sides, it’s almost always a middle eastern looking driver on his cell phone. These guys are dangerous, and have bad driving habits. Unfortunately, they have the ability to cause major havoc with an enormous vehicle. That said, I have seen some pretty lousy American drivers too. I’ve traveled extensively around the western United States by car and have seen some really stupid truck drivers.

For about 15 years I traveled up and down I-5 between Seattle and the Canadian border. It was not uncommon to encounter Canadian trucks in a convoy, nose to tail, sometimes six to ten trucks. Do the math, this is like a train on a highway. Ten semi trucks nose to tail take up about 6/10 of a mile. You can’t enter or exit the freeway when this happens. I have missed my exit several times because I couldn’t get through the line of trucks, or you have to come to a stop and wait before you can enter the freeway. This has to be one of the most inconsiderate acts that truckers commit.

I saved the best for last. The one act that truckers commit that drives me insane is as follows; You’re cruising up a super long grade, on a two lane in one direction, with a few semi trucks. Your traveling at about 65 mph. You are approaching two semis in the right lane traveling very slow. Just as you are about 500 feet away from them, the truck in the back suddenly swings out into the fast lane. You jump on the brakes, slow down to about 30-35 mph, and it takes at least a mile or more for this guy to complete his pass. The truck that just pulled that crap, is probably only about five miles an hour faster than the truck he passed, which is going to put him at the summit about five minutes quicker. This is a very dangerous act, because it can cause a large backup very quickly, and could result in rear end collisions among the faster traveling cars, not expecting traffic to abruptly slow down. If the driver was considerate of his fellow travelers, he would have been patient and stayed in the truck lane.

Automobile drivers cause headaches for truckers as well. Drivers of more maneuverable smaller vehicles don’t consider how long it takes a big rig to stop, and often take up the space that drivers put between them and the vehicle ahead of them, by suddenly diving into that space without warning. Also, automobile drivers don’t realize how hard it is for truckers to see them, and often cause accidents because they are not thinking. If you can’t see the trucks mirrors, he can’t see you. It takes a lot of time and space to maneuver a big rig into a tight space. Car drivers need to be patient and wait. Give the truck driver time to complete his maneuver safely.

This is the bottom line. On a public highway, vehicles are usually moving at about 60-70 mph. A driver needs to stay alert at all times,.When things go wrong, a lot of stuff happens very quickly, and usually people get injured or killed. Accidents are caused by someone doing something dumb. If everyone could practice more courtesy and civility, it would be so much easier and safer to travel from point A to B. This rule also works in most everything you do. Just try and be a little kinder and a little more patient with your fellow humans. I get impatient too quickly, I’m trying to fix that. Try to make our highways friendlier and safer. Most of all, watch for cyclists, both pedal powered and gas powered. They are especially vulnerable.


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