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Truck Topics

Being Courteous Equals Being Safe

By Sandy Long - staff writer
Posted Oct 4th 2013 12:22AM

There appears to be a trend in the industry that is growing, the lack of courtesy for other drivers. This trend includes the thought of some truckers that because they are driving a truck, that everyone else should get out of their way, that they should not move over for vehicles or pedestrians on the shoulder, that they should cut people off that annoy them and even should come across the centerline to intimidate other drivers. While many might just consider those types of drivers jerks, in reality, they are unsafe, inconsiderate drivers who need to some lessons in courtesy.

On any given day, one can see folk tailgating another vehicle trying to push them down the highway or to intimidate them into changing lanes. While it is bad enough when one car driver does it to another car or truck driver, for a truck driver to run a foot off a car’s bumper at speed is unconscionable.

Trucking Courtesy says, “This behavior will do one of two things, it will either scare the car driver to the extent that they may make a serious mistake, or it will make the car driver angry and they will stay right there or jam on their brakes. Either way, this type of activity by a trucker puts another nail in the coffin of truck driver’s images and is very unsafe. Back off to a proper following distance and give them some space to get on down the road or out of your way. It will save you time in the long run and may save your life.”

Most states have instituted ‘move over laws’ for at least emergency vehicles on the shoulder of the road. These laws, for both courtesy and safety’s sakes should include moving over for bicycles, pedestrians and broken down vehicles. Sadly, even truck drivers seem to get a kick out of blowing down other truckers’ emergency triangles or steering like they are going to hit someone working putting out the triangles or trying to change a tire to make them jump back.

Trucking Courtesy says, “You may not realize that when you go by a lighter object such as a car, bike or person, the suction from under the trailer or the air wash behind it or your truck can either pull a person, car or bike under your rig or push them over; if you cannot move over into another lane at least slow down. The same goes for emergency vehicles or personnel on the shoulder; if you cannot move over, slow down, put on your flashers so they know you see them and give them as much room as you can.”

Car drivers have gotten terrible with cutting off semis and other cars; some allege that this bad habit is coming into the industry with the newest drivers. Either way, any driver will say that they have to jam on the brakes at least once every day due to someone cutting them off. This has caused the consequence of a passing trucker thinking it clear to go back into a lane after passing only to find a car in the lane next to them. So truckers are now cutting off other truckers so they can move back over before a car can get into their blind spots.

Trucking Courtesy says, “I know that many think that having a truck or car flash them over is not necessary. This courtesy comes from before cb radios and four lane roads and still has value. In the scenario up above, where a car might dart into the lane ahead of a vehicle they have passed behind a passing truck, a quick flash of the headlights (off and on, not bright then dim please) can give a passing trucker a chance to get over quickly before a car darts in. Cutting off anyone is just so unsafe and rude to boot! Always keep track of the vehicles around you to protect your blind spots and if a car ducks behind you into where you want to go, just wait a minute or two and let them get beyond you; you be courteous even if they are not.”

Road rage shows when a driver uses cutting someone off to get back at them for holding them up from where they want to go or how fast they want to run. This type of behavior is usually accompanied with a hand gesture of some sort.

Trucking Courtesy says, “If you get held up from going into the lane you want to be in or going how fast you want to go, take a deep breath, and relax. A lot of this type of behavior is usually sparked by anger. Let’s face it, so what if you are a few seconds later in getting to where you are going, at least you will get there safely, not smacked into by a driver not paying close enough attention to your actions, or ticketed by that cop that was paying attention.”

Other uncourteous things affect safety. Driving in heavy rain or snow faster than the other traffic causes spray or whirling snow to blind the vehicles you pass. Not using clearance lights at dusk or dawn or in inclement weather might not affect you, but it can cause someone who is tired from working all day, or who just got up and is going to work or school not to see you clearly.

Trucking Courtesy says to remember to do the following two things:

Tap the brakes to light the brake lights when jaking down will help eliminate many rear end collisions.

Do not try to pass someone when you cannot do so quickly causing traffic to back up or to change lanes around you, this can cause accidents for those trying to get by you.

Trucking Courtesy says, “Understanding courtesy is simple, sit down and think about what annoys you that others do when driving around you, then check yourself that you are not doing those things too. Courtesy and safety both start in the same place, in the driver’s seat. Even if others are not courteous, lead by example and remain courteous and safe yourself, remember what granny used to say, ‘monkey see, monkey do’ perhaps you will influence those around you by your own courteous, safe behavior.”


  • - October 5, 2013
    Linda-=|=-Really great article Sandy! I could not agree with you more that Courteous = Safe!
  • - October 5, 2013
    Linda-=|=-Really great article Sandy! I could not agree with you more that Courteous = Safe!
  • - October 20, 2013
    Eric H. -=|=-Excellent article Sandy. You are right on the money.
  • - October 20, 2013
    Eric H. -=|=-Excellent article Sandy. You are right on the money.

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