CDLLife Reader Submitted Article
Set a good example right from the start.
I had another driver in the truck with me the other night. He was a new hire, and he was making his way from Illinois to our headquarters in Dayton, Ohio to get his truck. This was a very insightful trip. The leg of his journey that put him in my truck was for a little trip from Indianapolis to Dayton.
As we made our way around the Indianapolis bypass, I had to move over for a truck coming down a ramp to get on the bypass with us. When this truck got out on the highway, as usually happens, the driver of that truck would ride beside me at the same speed leaving me out in the second lane. The man riding with me was a little indignant and began to tell me what he would have done in his old fast truck.
He said, “I would go as fast as I need to just to get in front of this jerk, pull over into the right lane, and hit my brakes, forcing this other truck to move over to keep from hitting me. I would do it just to make a point to the other driver than I was not happy.”
I replied, “This is how I am going to deal with it.”
I reduced the speed on my cruise control by 1 or 2 mph for about 10 seconds, I filed in behind him, and I let the other driver go on down the road.
No lessons to prove, no chance of road rage, no chance of an accident, and we all get to our next destination on time and intact.
There was a time that I, too, wanted to show the motoring public how to drive, but after 19 years driving a big truck, I realize that I can only drive one vehicle at a time.
I know now that the best way to “teach” people how to drive is to set a good example of “how” to drive.
I have come up with a four simple ways a professional truck driver can set a good example.
1. If you have been driving a truck longer than a week, you know that your truck can only go so fast, and it will slow down going uphill. Knowing this, you must make the decision NOT to pass another truck who is barely going faster than you. Trust me, it will not take you a lot longer to get to your destination. To my surprise, I have begun to see a lot more truck drivers take this approach and it can only be a good thing.
2. Even if you are on a straight and level road, if you can barely pass someone and you see a line of cars coming up behind you in the left lane, WAIT! As I said, It will not add a whole lot of time to your trip, it will reduce stress on a lot of people, and those people can begin to have a better outlook on truck drivers in general.
3. If you are the driver in the slow lane being passed by a truck which is barely going faster than you, slow down. Just like my example above, dropping down 1 or 2 mph for just a few seconds to let that other truck get around you can only make things better for everyone.
4. You must pay attention to traffic signs that speak only to truck drivers. Lane restrictions, construction zones, and slow truck lanes while climbing steep grades, just to name a few.
As you gain more experience in the trucking industry, you will encounter more and more situations like this where you can be the professional that you were meant to be, and I hope that you will.