Fuel for Thought

Cars vs. Trucks

By Greg Huggins
Posted May 17th 2024 5:00AM

Truck drivers and four wheelers (cars), quite often these days, seem to be at odds when they have to drive near one another. For the most part, all too often, truck drivers consider themselves ”owners” of the road and the cars are just their annoyances on the road. For the car drivers, many of them seem to have an issue with driving behind trucks, yielding the right of way or just having some consideration for the needs of large vehicles on the road. If we could all have a little empathy for their fellow drivers (cars and trucks), we could all have a safer, more relaxing drive.

Generally speaking, truck drivers, more precisely, professional truck drivers, have fewer problems with other motorists. As a professional truck driver, you should understand that the commuters (the cars) are not professional drivers. Which means that you, the professional, have to look out for and help the amateur drivers of the cars and trucks around you, not only for your own safety but also for theirs. 

Car drivers tend to consider a 100 mile drive as a major task, so they dread it, get distracted easily and often drive with a bit of road rage. You, as a professional truck driver, consider a 100 mile trip a short hop and an easy task. As the professional driver on the road, you tend to watch further ahead for upcoming hazards, while many car drivers these days seem to be texting and only looking as far ahead as the short hood of their own car.

You, as the professional, understand what you need to do to safely maneuver your truck throughout your trip. Car drivers are not concerned with your needs, since many of them don’t know or even consider what your driving needs are to begin with. The professional truck driver doesn’t get angered by the seemingly inconsiderate actions of the other drivers, you expect their behavior to be such and plan accordingly. You cannot fault them for not knowing your job, although it is refreshing when you encounter that considerate car driver. 

Many of today’s truck drivers tend to bring their car driving skills with them to their trucks. To me these truck drivers fall into the same category of amateur drivers as the car drivers. As a professional truck driver, you have to be vigilant anytime other vehicles are around you. 

I would say I probably spend a large portion of my day driving just helping other motorists. No, that doesn’t mean that I stop to make repairs to their vehicles, but I do tend to evaluate my surroundings constantly and help others who are obviously distracted or about to have an issue, to not have one. Anything from slowing down to allow someone room to change lanes (car or truck), moving over a lane early so that those behind me can see an upcoming hazard or even using my emergency flashers to alert those behind me of stopped traffic or emergency vehicles ahead (especially on two lane roads). When you help those around you to avoid a situation, you help yourself as well. Be the professional you claim to be and have a little empathy for those non professional drivers out there. You never know, your actions just might save a life or at the very least you might help someone learn how to be courteous on the road. 

Humans aren't as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were 'reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.' 

-  Neil deGrasse Tyson

See you down the road,