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Thirty-year veteran trucker writes open letter to car drivers: ‘Give us room!’


The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) recently shared a letter penned by an experienced trucker filled with useful advice for four wheelers on how to safely share the road with big rigs.

The September 27 KDOT blog post entitled “Professional truck driver to ‘four wheelers’: Give us room!” features a letter from Eureka, Kansas, resident Ronald Mayes, who has been a professional truck driver for more than thirty years.

Read the post in full below.

My name is Ron and I’m a semi-truck driver from Kansas. I’m 59 years old and have been driving since my mid-20s. I just want to say that the cars and pickup trucks that we
professional drivers refer to as “four wheelers” are being operated by people who at times appear not to care about their health and safety or that of other persons using the highways.

I know there are a few bad semi drivers out there, some of whom have pulled out in front of me going 65 miles per hour – way too close. But people driving cars and pickups do that all the time at intersections. They also tend to cut off semis after passing them going 70-80 mph. They get right in front and then sometimes slow way down, even hitting the brakes. Now why would you pass me at 70 mph and then slow to 5-10 mph?

 Here’s how you “four-wheeler” folks need to behave around me and other semi drivers:

  • Stay off my back end and don’t tailgate. I can’t see you.
  • Stay off the phone when driving, especially around semis.
  • Stay off my right side. I can’t see you there, either.

 It’s all about physics, motion, mass and density. I can’t stop 80,000 pounds-plus of truck quickly. Having more tires on the highway doesn’t mean I can brake faster than a regular vehicle. And for the drivers hauling oversized loads it’s even worse. Give us room: 1 second for each 10 feet of vehicle length, and add 1 more second if you’re driving faster than 60 mph.


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