There are some things that truck drivers would like all drivers to know:

1) It only takes one of you to create a traffic jam. If you’re on the freeway are anywhere other than the far right lane, and you see cars lined up behind you, you need to move to the right. I don’t care if you’re going the speed limit. Roads are safest when everybody has plenty of room, and nobody is impeding anybody else’s movement. If you’re the guy in the passing lane blocking people, you’re causing a traffic jam, all by yourself. The same goes for blocking the center lane on a three-lane highway. If you’re in the center lane with trucks behind you, you need to move to the right. Don’t expect the trucks to pass you in the far-left lane, since it is illegal in most states for trucks to be in that lane.

2) You shouldn’t expect truck drivers to make room for you when you merge onto a freeway. Most on-ramps are long enough to allow you to adjust your speed accordingly to fit into any available open spots in the right lane. If they are not very long, like some in big cities, there is often a yield sign. The yield sign does not mean “let’s forge forward quickly and hope that trucker gets out of my way in time”. There are several reasons why a truck driver won’t move to the left to make room for you. Even if there isn’t traffic next to him or her, there might be some quickly approaching from behind. Don’t expect him to slow them down just because you didn’t merge properly. If, for some reason, he is able to get over for you, quickly make room for him to come back to the right lane. If you simply mosey along, refusing to let him back, then you’re likely to become the driver described in my first point, creating a traffic jam all by yourself.

3) Do not hang out next to trucks. Leave trucks, and yourself, plenty of room to maneuver out of unplanned situations. I might see an obstacle ahead before you do and need to change lanes. My trailer tire could blow, sending shredded tread your way. I check my tires every time I get into the truck, but there are 18 of them. Stuff happens, and you don’t want to be right next to me if it does. If you’re going to pass, go ahead and complete the pass quickly. Do not hang out near the trailer axles for miles and miles. If you do, I will turn on my turn signals to make you think that I’m coming over, only to turn them off when you get out of my way. I’m protective of the space around me, and you should be too.

4) If I’m trying to pass, don’t be a jerk and speed up just to prevent me from doing so. That just causes traffic behind us to back up, and then I have to slow down to get back behind you. Why in the world do you want a 75,000 pound truck travelling 65 mph behind you?

5) Sometimes truck drivers are jerks. I’m not, but they’re out there. I read all kinds of crazy explanations of why you sometimes see two trucks rolling down the freeway at the same speed, side-by-side, going for miles down the freeway. The actual reason is simple: They are probably both driving trucks governed to go no more than 62 mph, and the one on the right is stubbornly refusing to let the one on the left pass. In an ideal situation, one of them should give up, so the lane can be freed up and traffic can move around them.

6) Without us, you’re living in a 19th century economy. Every single thing you buy required a truck, several trucks actually, to be produced and shipped to the store or to you. If we all decide to stop working on Monday, you’re all screwed by Tuesday. We’re not planning on doing that, I’m just stating a fact. Truck drivers are job creators. We create all of the jobs, in fact. Most of us are just really hard workers trying to get our jobs done safely and legally. Don’t be the guy blocking our way.

Be safe.

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About kevinmckague

I left my former dead-end job in 2006 in order to become a truck driver. I wanted a career that was recession-proof, and that offered more opportunity for adventure. Now I travel the country with my bike in the passenger seat, and look for new places to visit whenever the opportunity presents itself.
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