Ms. Manners: Safety, Really?

By: A. H. Bosley

The rules and regulations that are put on truckers are made up by those who have never driven a tractor-trailer, let alone have driven across the country. They hear the word truck, and the first thing that comes to their mind is their Ford F150 sitting in the driveway.Most can’t even shift a four-wheeler (car). These are the folks that dream up ways to run something they have never even worked, all from behind a desk. They try and think of safer rules for the roads and highways in general through regulating the trucker. They should start with four-wheelers (people who drive cars or vehicles with 4 wheels). I’m all for safety so, from a truck drivers point of view: Here are one or two things that I think would make for a safer highway. – Let’s see if you agree.

First let’s talk about the restricting or governing the tractors (truck).
I’m sure that governing tractors saved on fuel but we have given up a safer a highway for it. – Making tractor trailers rolling road blocks.

Cars traveling at 70 MPH are having to go around, darting in and out like squirrels running through the trees. While the “professional driver” is only given a pedal of 63, some 65, and others 67. Trucks are heavily loaded with no power. Large vehicles are stuck in the granny lanes due to lane restrictions that are for tractor trailers only (who now are dealing with each other) cars are trying to get off the interstate, and others are coming on. Sounds normal – until you add a large slug of a truck in the mix.

We can’t move like cars, stop or start, big rigs can’t get out of their way. Cars are passing on the right, slow cars are hanging out in the hammer lane, then add in several trucks trying to keep up the RPMs to make the hill. For a trucker, it’s like trying to swing a fly swatter in a swarm of gnats without hitting one.

The public in general have lost respect for truckers, and I believe this is the number one reason, because we are always in the way. They don’t understand why we are speeding up rolling down hill, and slowing down going up the hill. I have known these basic laws of physics since I was in elementary school. I have always known trucker etiquette as far back as I can remember. I was taught to respect trucks, give them the room they need, give them the right of way when possible, TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF THEN ON AT NIGHT SO THE DRIVER CAN KEEP HIS NIGHT VISION.

I’m not sure where the lack of communication and general lack of respect for truckers started. We need to re-educate people in general on how to merge, for those who don’t know, it is every other vehicle. Not one tractor trailer then five cars. Then the signs – they are clearly posted. Merge now or right lane closed ahead. Cars run up in the right lane as far as they can go while the people doing what was asked of them stay left. Cars are actually challenging tractor trailers by merging in our lane just inches from our front bumpers and then stopping. – This is just suicide.

Everyone is in such a hurry that there is no care for etiquette or rules. – This same guy gets home and wonders why little Johnny doesn’t follow any of the rules at home. For your children to have respect you have to show it and teach it, they mirror you.

We also have a four-way stop or a 3-way stop. The norm here is: whoever gets there first – goes first, not whoever is the fastest of the line. Then, if you both arrive at the same time, it’s the vehicle to the right that goes first, once again – not the fastest. Getting passed on the on ramp – this is crazy, and wrong.

It all comes down to sharing the road. The regulations on highway speed variations for cars and trucks is unsafe. We need to have our lawmakers look into this. A safe highway is one that ALL vehicles are traveling on at approximately the same speed, while all motorists obey traffic rules and regulations.

The companies need to take the governors off the tractors. If you can’t run the speed limit or at least within 5 MPH from it, you shouldn’t be traveling on that road. They allow vehicles (4-wheelers) and thus non-professional’s to have a vehicle that can run up to 120 MPH or more. Including new drivers of 16 and 17 years of age. So why are we governed at such low speeds?

It is dangerous and the practice of it should be dissolved. As a side note here, PLEASE put on your flashers when traveling 15 MPH or less under the posted speed limit on the highway. There is an optical illusion that occurs sometimes where as the vehicle coming up behind you can’t tell just how slow you are going until they are right up on you. It is the button with the red triangle on it, yeah, pull it out or push it in! Then you’ll see the blink, blink, blink of the blinkers. This lets everyone know something is different or wrong.

Caution! Let’s be safe out there.

Take the time to teach someone a safety rule. Some of us take it for granted that others know or should know the basic rules – but by the actions of most, they don’t.

Trucking is not just a profession, it’s a way of life.