The Trucker's Top Five Concerns

Truck Driver's ViewI asked a couple of transport truck drivers what bothered them about the drivers of small vehicles. We had a lively half hour discussion from which I gathered their top five concerns. Each of them could have serious consequences for everyone on the highway.

The first two concern sudden reductions in speed. The small vehicle driver will either pass the transport truck, pull in suddenly, and then slow down, or just slow suddenly without taking note of the truck behind. When you consider that a fully loaded truck with all the air brakes properly adjusted has only 50 to 65% of a small vehicles braking efficiency, you can guess how dangerous this move could be.

Passing over a double solid line when drivers are impatient with trucks forced to travel slowly is next. Often there is oncoming traffic and nowhere to go for all vehicles involved. The truckers would travel the speed limit on hills if they could, but they can’t so it would be best to wait for the proper place to pass.

On multi-laned roadway slow drivers that won’t keep to the right are frustrating. This situation isn’t limited to truck drivers either. People need to realize that even if they are traveling at the speed limit in the inside lane if someone faster approaches they must move to the outside lane.

The last situation is where drivers of small vehicles follow along directly beside heavy trucks. There is no law against this one, but it is not a good idea to do this with any vehicle. If either driver is required to make an emergency maneuver there is nowhere to move to. Pacing slightly ahead or behind is the preferred method.

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Trucks and Truckers

I agree that truckers have some legitimate beefs about other drivers. But there are many of us who have equally legitimate beefs about truckers. In my opinion there are far too many trucks on the roads today. Trucks must be the most inefficient mode to transport goods. Trucks are driven far too fast and many times in a reckless manner which endangers those people who are diving smaller vehicles. The US does a much better job of regulating truck speed limits and resricting their right to use certain highway lanes. Recently, on a stretch of road which had loose aggregate on it, a large tractor trailer rig pulled out in front of me and litterally sandblasted the entire front end of my new vehicle including the windshield. The truck was so dirty there was no way to get the license number or even the name of the company. This is not an isolated incident. Not only do they damage our vehicles they damage the roads and I don't think they pay their fair share of the costs to build and maintain the roads.   

Oh, my.

wbardua, as a trucker I have a few opinions of my own on your post.

Point by point: I agree that there are far too many trucks on our roads today. There are also far too many cars, and not nearly enough public transit options, especially for folks who are compelled to travel outside the city of Vancouver. Trucks are in fact, though, the most efficient of available solutions for many transport problems, and will remain so for the forseeable future.

Anyone who has encountered one of the 90mph truck convoys in the midwest might disagree with you as to how the US regulates truck speed limits. For better or worse, trucks - like cars - are operated by people. Many of those are not as smart as they think they are. The US does, though, have a far larger tax base than we have, and the paranoia of the 1950's gave rise to their interstate system of highways which, while crumbling, is still far superior to ours.

Your next complaint puzzles me: Was the aggregate on the road the fault of the truck driver who "sandblasted the entire front end" of your new vehicle, including the windshield? Should he have chosen an old vehicle to sandblast? If the loose aggregate came from the truck then it certainly was his fault, as loose aggregate loads are required to be tarped. The truck was so dirty, you say, that it was impossible to read its signs or numbers. Let me share with you a little about that, from my perspective. Maintenance contractors to this province use a traction compound on the highways which contains more than just sand and salt. The law compels us truckers to change our windshields whenever a crack becomes 11" long. This can happen several times over the course of a single winter crossing the Rockies. So you can see that your vehicles are not the only ones damaged by the aggregate on the roads. As to the dirt on that truck, well, I can leave Langley in January, eastbound with a clean, polished unit, and within two hours the truck will be dirty. Within four, the numbers will be illegible. You can bet that this is not an isolated incident. Are you suggesting that I stop to wash the truck several times a day? If so, I will need a pay adjustment, which statement is a marvellous segue into my last point: You can be absolutely certain that we truckers do, indeed, pay - at the very least - our fair share of the costs of building and maintaining the roads. My one truck pays hundreds of dollars every day in fuel taxes alone! I'll say it again: for one truck, from one tax are levied hundreds of dollars every day. I pay other taxes as well, as you may imagine. I don't know where the money goes.

There are two things... didn't mention in your post, Tim, which are among my special favourites. One I have written about before: Those important folks whose time is more valuable than ours, and who use the acceleration lanes of on-ramps and the shoulder to pass slow, heavy traffic on the "free"way during peak hours. They are getting far more common than is comfortable for me as a trucker, and I keep wishing someone else would get interested in them. On the TCH through Burnaby, I usually allow two vehicles to merge at each on-ramp, but frequently as many as three others will pass me on my right and cut in to what little room remains ahead of me. Far too frequently their leading distance (from my front bumper) can be measured in centimetres, and once - to date - there has been contact.

The other, waaaay more rare, terrifies me every time I encounter it. Picture this: You are heavily loaded, accelerating hard up an on-ramp to a freeway, in the hope of getting your rig moving maybe as fast as 80 km/hr so as to merge with fast traffic, and the car ahead of you stops abruptly on the ramp, because traffic is too heavy(whatever that means) to merge. In 30+ years as a transport driver I have only seen this a few times, but somehow they almost always cover the only escape route I have: the shoulder. What would you do?

Truck drivers are pushing

Truck drivers are pushing vehicles to drive faster by tailgating which is very dangerous. I set my cruise control to posted speed on hwy 97 between vernon and westwold and the truckers on several different occasions have tailgated me and tried either maling me go faster or pull over and part of the road is through the westwold residentil area and an elementary school zone they never go thespeed limit and one day they will kill someone on this road. The truck drivers are serious disrespecting other drivers to a point of ignorance. SLOW DOWN BEFORE YOU KILL A CHILD

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