Being a long haul trucker for 12 years and an airline technician for a decade before that, you could say David Hill has had plenty of experience with difficult and dangerous equipment. These days, he’s done quite a job of upping the ante. He’s moved over to regional driving for fuel and hazmat freight. As if truck driving wasn’t hard enough, he’s now in the business of driving a bomb.
David took the job of driving a gasoline delivery tanker just 7 months ago. Before that, he was an over-the-road trucker for 12 years.
He loves the freedom of being on the open road, but he doesn’t like it when commuters cut him off. Knowing that truckers often have plenty to say about commuters and the dangers of distracted driving, we put a few questions to David.
Q: What would you like economy car drivers to know?
A: I would like them to know how dangerous it is and how hard it is to drive a big truck. We can’t stop on a dime. They shouldn’t tailgate us. They shouldn’t cut us off. We’re going slow because we’re very heavy and we’re very safety conscious. I’d like to put a car driver in the truck with me for a day, just so they can see what we do and how hard it is to stop on a dime.
Q: Is it always the commuter’s fault?
A: There are some truck drivers out there that aren’t good drivers. They shouldn’t be on the road. I’ve had trucks cut me off. I’ve been run off the road by them when I’m in my car and obeying all safety rules. I don’t stay around them. My wife doesn’t stay around them. We don’t tailgate. We don’t get in front of them. If we get in front of them, we stay in front of them. But sometimes that doesn’t even matter.
Q: How do you drive around trucks when you’re in a smaller vehicle?
A: You don’t stay around a truck. If you’re going to pass a truck, you pass him and you go. You don’t want to be in their blind spot.
Q: What should car drivers watch for when they’re around a big truck?
A: They should watch the signals on the truck to make sure of their intentions. If they’re putting on their left turn signal, they’re leaning over in that lane, and I don’t think a lot of people in cars pay attention to what’s going on in the trucks. I just think (people in a) car think a big truck is just like a car and it’s not.
Stay safe out there truckers! Keep a cool head and a light foot.