Fuel for Thought
Winning The Race? -OR- Why Am I So Tired?
Are you winning the race? The race to get ahead. Everyone wants to be winner. There is first place, and then there is everyone else.
If this describes you out on our roads today, who exactly are you racing? Do the other participants know there is even a race?
We all hear daily commuters complaining about how tired they are from the drive home. As truck drivers, we think, or in some cases say, they don’t know what driving is, try 600 miles a day instead of 40. While there is some truth to that statement, there is more to it. Daily commuters, 9-5ers, fight traffic to and from work. Many of them will race to their jobs in the morning and then race back home in the evening. Keyword here is Race. We all see them, cutting people off, racing to the end of a closed lane, just to cut off someone for that coveted “one more position”. The “me first” driving style that drives truckers crazy (no pun intended). This aggressive style of driving is mostly seen during rush hours near major cities, but it can be found everywhere and anytime. And it is not just the daily commuters anymore, truck drivers are increasingly adopting this style of driving. It is not a good idea for cars to drive this way, but it is an even worse idea for large trucks. Leave a little space, use a turn signal, slow down and exercise a little patience. We are all sitting in the same traffic jam, one more car or truck length is not going to make that much difference.
When I am driving I see a lot of aggressive drivers battling for position in a race, but I never see the flag drop for the start of the race. Unfortunately, I do occasionally see the finish line, which can usually be the wreck that has caused the traffic jam. Maybe it was from a previous race, as there is still one going on around me.
I have to think the reason why so many complain of being tired from a relatively short drive, has to be partly due to their aggressive driving style. They are working hard to gain each car length ahead of their “competition”. It has to be tiring always shooting the gaps, hard braking when the gaps close too soon, constantly on alert for the next opening, and the elevated heart rates of those with the near collisions and the anger towards the other driver who cut them off.
It’s not quite as tiring to pace yourself with the traffic, leave a little room for the inevitable “racer” and let them go. Leaving some room will leave you less stressed and less likely to need to emergency brake since you have time to see the road ahead. That vehicle that just passed you can only be in a race with themselves since your finish line is most likely in another place from theirs.
Let’s be safe out on the road and use a little patience and caution rather than battle for a useless position in an unknown race.
See you down the road,