The world of trucking is a fast-paced and constantly changing industry. There are so many technological advancements that have improved the quality of life for anyone living on the road, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the job has become any easier. In fact, the opposite may be true. With the growing number of victims of the iPhone zombie apocalypse stacking up, truck-related accidents are becoming more and more common. The lack of knowledge about common courtesies and simple safety precautions to take when driving near, passing by, or even approaching a stoplight with a big rig trailing behind has led to injuries and, in serious cases, the death of many drivers.
There are a lot of things that people should know about truckers because it could be life-changing. Not to mention, truckers are a very important part in the economy of many nations, yet they don’t always receive the respect that they deserve. Overall, society has a gleaning perspective on the truck-driving industry, and it shows; there’s a continual demand for more truck drivers but not enough willing individuals to take on the job. Young people, especially, seem to have a dismay for the trucking lifestyle. While not all cases are the same, there are a lot of instances in which truckers are being negatively stereotyped – and it’s uncalled for. Instead of judging truckers, drivers need to begin taking their advice on roadway safety when sharing the road with these big trucks.
19) TRUCKERS WISH REGULAR DRIVERS KNEW ABOUT THE PASSING SIDE
The more you talk to a trucker, the more you’ll realize how little the Driver’s Education course actually teaches you about real-life scenarios on the road. Unless you’ve noticed the occasional ‘passing side/suicide’ sticker that some truckers put on the back of their trucks, then you may not have ever known that it’s extremely dangerous to pass a truck on its right side.
A big truck is never really supposed to drive in the fast lane, and because of the danger of uneducated drivers passing a truck on its right side, most truckers attempt to stay in the slow lane.
There’s almost no visibility on this side of the truck, and while most drivers are skeptical about this, it’s just better to play it safe and avoid the right of a semi at all costs.
18) THEY NEED US TO USE OUR TURN SIGNALS
Truckers have a bit of a resentment toward everyday drivers because they’re so often pulling too close to semis and being careless about multitasking while driving. Some truckers have been asked what they wish regular drivers knew about.
As shocking as it may sound, truckers say they wish that drivers would use their blinkers.
So many people get too close for comfort to big trucks, and at the very least, truckers need us to use blinkers so they know where we’re intending to maneuver. Even though we jump into truckers’ blind spots, using our blinkers allows them to have an idea of where we are and keeps them from crushing your car in some instances.
17) THAT BACK ALLEY YOU DRIVE THROUGH IS ACTUALLY A DELIVERY LANE
Ever find yourself rushing to get to work, so you take a shortcut to lessen your ETA to the office? The next time you’re using the back alley of a building or complex, take into consideration that this area probably wasn’t meant for you.
It’s very obnoxious when an overflow of cars blocks up the delivery lane and prevents truckers from dropping their shipment.
They just want to do their job – probably like you do – and this makes things incredibly annoying and sometimes even less safe. If you feel like you must use these back ways, use them very sparingly, and drive at a reasonable speed.
16) THEY KNOW ABOUT TRAFFIC AND SPEED TRAPS BEFORE YOU
If you’re an observant driver, then you’ve probably already caught onto the driving tricks that truckers use. It’s becoming outdated, but most truckers have a CB radio in their truck that allows them to talk to other truckers and can also allow them to listen to the police channel. They’ve got a pretty firm camaraderie in the trucking community, and most are courteous enough to let others know when and where there’s a jam or a speed trap. Plus, if they know enough about police codes, they could also find out about traffic as well. These guys know what they’re doing, so when you happen to notice a lot of trucks exiting or slowing down, you may want to consider doing the same.
15) TRUCKERS HAVE THEIR OWN TRICKS TO OVERCOME FATIGUE
Long hours on the road has its benefits, but it can also take a toll on any driver – even if driving is their job. In online spaces, fellow truckers have shared the secrets of staying up late. One of the most common tricks is to stop and take a 20-minute nap once you begin nodding off behind the wheel. Supposedly, military scientists have proven that the body can recover energy from a short 20-minute nap just fine. This, on top of a brisk walk at a medium pace, will get the blood flowing, getting drivers ready to be back on the road in no time. A 20-minute nap and a short walk is well worth the short delay, it’s certainly better than falling asleep and compromising the load by getting into an accident.
14) HARASSMENT IS AN EVERYDAY OCCURRENCE FOR A TRUCKER
Since many people typecast truckers, they tend to get a lot of disrespect from your average fellow driver. Men and women truck drivers have shared countless stories of random drivers exposing themselves and cursing the drivers, and, in a few rare instances, things have become violent. Part of this may fall at the fault of the slow and steady nature of big trucks. They don’t maneuver quickly, so this could become dangerous to ignorant drivers, although these are also the same people who are quick to harass truckers. Sometimes, the cruelty is completely uncalled for; female truckers have been hit on while driving on the interstate. If that doesn’t say something about an evident lack of respect, then nothing will. Truck drivers are compromising a lot of time with family and friends for their job; the least we can do is stay in our own lanes and pay attention.
13) THEY CAN SEE EVERYTHING WE DO… AND THEY’RE NOT IMPRESSED
Regular drivers tend to be a selfish breed. We put truckers through a lot of stress, and yet, we’re almost completely unaware of this. Truckers claim that they can see inside everyone’s cars around them (except for blind spots), which can translate to a fairly entertaining sight. But it can also evoke a little anger when truckers witness a would-be accident and the driver is very visibly texting, putting on makeup, reading a book (yes, this happens), or occupying themselves with pretty much anything other than the task at hand: driving. It’s a surefire way to annoy a trucker and quite possibly embarrass yourself if you’re not open to an audience.
12) THE GAP IN FRONT OF A SEMI ISN’T MEANT FOR YOU
This one should seem fairly obvious, but it’s one of the worst mistakes that a regular driver makes. And it’s probably one of the most frustrating for a trucker. Believe it or not, there’s no visibility of the foreground from the cab of a semi. The average semi driver can’t see right in front of the truck even if you’re in a Ford Super Duty. For lifesaving reasons, you should neverpull out in front of a semi, and definitely, don’t hang out in that space. These trucks are oftentimes carrying products that weigh tons. Add this to the heavy weight of the truck itself, and you’ve got yourself a mess waiting to happen. They absolutely can’t stop on a dime with or without a load, which means any car that brake-checks the truck is destined for trouble. It’s selfish to put a trucker in this predicament and also careless to put your own life in danger.
11) BAD WEATHER CAN BE A TRUCKER’S WORST NIGHTMARE
One of the most gut-wrenching situations is severe weather. This is quite possibly the most stressful position for truckers. They really detest drivers that linger around the truck during these moments because the trailer isn’t under their direct control; it’s bound to jackknife even in the slightest rain. If it’s possible that the truck can hydroplane, the wind may catch it, so if you find yourself winding up in a snowstorm, your best bet is to put as much space between you and a semi. There have been countless casualties from semi accidents during a storm. The pressure to keep the truck from going out of control – thus compromising the entire load – is enough of a difficulty for truckers. They don’t appreciate it when regular drivers can’t be courteous and give them the space they need to ride out the weather.
10) DON’T EVER EXPECT A TRUCKER TO SLOW DOWN FOR A MERGING CAR
As most of us should know, trucks can’t slow down once they’ve built up speed. And quite frankly, truckers don’t want to decelerate because it takes a lot of effort for the semi to reach that speed in the first place. Unfortunately, most drivers are a bit egotistical on the road and oftentimes attempt to zip in front of a semi when merging. It’s not really possible for the truck to slow down enough to allow a car in front of them; plus, they have no visibility and no way of knowing how quickly the car will pick up speed once it gets in front of them. In other words, get behind the semi next time you’re merging unless you have ample space to get in front.
9) MOMENTUM IS A TRUCKER’S BEST FRIEND
Many regular drivers have asked why truckers will pass another semi while driving uphill. This can be temporarily frustrating because the slow giants block most of the lanes while going much slower than the average driver. Truckers have explained that the reason for this common scene is momentum. One truck may have a heavier load than the other, which means he’s going to slow down going uphill. It can actually be dangerous for a truck to linger behind him because the truck in the rear has already built up speed and will inevitably lose it if they slow down. Driving uphill while losing momentum is obviously a danger to other drivers. So, don’t take it personally when the trucks seem to block every lane uphill — it’s for your own good.
8) THEY WANT YOU TO KEEP MOVING (QUICKLY)
We’ve all zoomed past drivers in front of us because they’ve chosen to go five mph belowthe speed limit. Some construe this as passive-aggressive behavior, but truckers prefer for us to keep moving. With no shortage of blind spots, truckers get aggravated quickly when regular cars are lingering next to their truck. They have limited visibility, which makes evasive maneuvers nearly impossible in the event of an emergency. To have a tiny car tailgate you or consistently roll alongside a large truck is a huge liability. Regular drivers need to pass and pass quickly, otherwise, lag back behind the trucks and give them ample space. Truckers have warned about how dangerous it can be, claiming that the last thing these drivers want is to end up beneath a semi… It never leads to a happy ending.
7) THE JOB ISN’T GOING TO KEEP YOU HEALTHY FOR LONG
As we can all imagine, trucking isn’t necessarily a complicated job, but it can certainly be a stressful one. Attempting to keep track of all of the cars around you while also paying attention to oncoming traffic stops and obstacles in the road that could possibly permit a sudden stop is a high-stress situation. A combination of the limited visibility of the nearest vehicles and the lack of knowledge average drivers have about big trucks is the recipe for a perfect storm. One trucker claimed that he’d gone to the doctor concerning a minor health problem, and to his surprise, the specialist told him that he’d actually had two mini-heart attacks. In conjunction with the stressful environment, truckers also tend to have limited choices in food, which likely contributed to heart issues. The job’s got great perks, but it takes a major toll on health.
6) DRIVERS NEED TO KNOW WHEN TO STOP
Driving near a semi is usually a bit nerve-wracking for regular drivers, but there are always a few rebels on the road. Some drivers will hop in front of truckers because we all know it can be irritable getting stuck behind a slow-moving semi. A trucker’s foreground blind spot is the last place a driver wants to get caught up. Believe it or not, some people actually have the audacity to brake suddenly in front of a big truck. We can’t always predict a quick halt in traffic, but this is exactly why truckers expect us to give them ample space. Truckers have asked drivers to begin to take into consideration a proper stopping distance when a semi is trailing mere feet behind them. Seeing the recent rise in truck-related accidents, we can only hope that people will heed their warnings.
5) THEY HAVE AN AVERAGE FAMILY LIFE
Regular drivers don’t necessarily have a negative perception of truck drivers, but there are quite a few stereotypes that tend to taint their image. If you can get past the accusations of promiscuity, many of these men and women are interesting people. They’re hard-working individuals who’d just prefer not to be trapped in a cubicle. Most of them have families and still do the regular things; they’re just not always able to be around as often as someone with a typical nine-to-five. The fact is that truckers actually have a significant role in our economy that’s actually often overlooked. Many people have their prejudices against truck drivers, but we always need more of them, and they’re just regulars like everyone else.
4) NOT ALL HOPE IS LOST FOR THE HEALTH-CONSCIOUS TRUCKER
It’s hard to imagine that truck drivers would have much room to squeeze proper health practices into their tight schedule. Since truckers are always on the go, most of their meals comprise of whatever’s available at the nearest truck stop, which isn’t exactly a health-conscious move to make. Exercise is completely out of the question; they don’t have many options since they’re confined to a truck day in and day out. But technology has revolutionized some aspects of the truck-driving industry. In trucks today, drivers are able to cook their own meals. While they don’t have a full kitchen, it does allow them a bit more freedom of food choice than usual. In fact, many keep crockpots in their truck. Canned veggies are better than none!
3) THEY STAY ON GOOD TERMS WITH THE COPS
We’ve all had those mornings. The alarm goes off but you went to bed a bit later than usual, leaving you nearly comatose by the time that 5:30 ringing sounds. More often than not, it leads to a ticket from highway patrol on your way to work.
Everyday drivers tend to have a grudge against those patrolling our highways, so we naturally assume that the relationship must be similar for truckers. But this isn’t at all the case. Since the majority of truckers do follow protocol and laws, there tends to be a cordial relationship between them and law enforcement.
In fact, late at night, some small-town cops are even willing to turn a blind eye now and again to trucks passing through at questionable speed.
2) THEY COMMUNICATE BY THEIR HEADLIGHTS
While this is more common in Australia and some parts of Europe, it still has regional significance in different areas of the U.S. as well. Communicating with blinkers is actually a lot more sophisticated of a system than you may think. For instance, drivers in most parts of the U.S. know to flip their headlights on and off when merging to let the trucker know that you’re letting them get ahead of you. Additionally, if truckers allow you to get in front of them, they may flash their lights on and off. Then, the driver in the car would flash his/her own lights as a way to thank truckers. This may seem a bit unusual for some, especially the U.S. Southwest, because this location doesn’t keep up with the friendly car-flashing lingo.
1) A DASH CAM IS ONE OF THEIR MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS
Being on the road allows you to see a lot of different things, but it’s not the countryside we’re talking about here. Truckers sometimes find themselves involved in traffic accidents, which can be a huge liability for the employer. Instead of putting themselves in a cliché “he said, she said” situation, most of them purchase cameras for their dashboard. Even when trucks aren’t tangled in an accident, they can still help police with their trusty cams. We can only begin to conceive all of the money and headache that these dash cams must save them. The only advice we recommend is to think twice before pulling a stupid move – like texting and driving or pulling out in front of a semi – because dash cams can see everything you’re doing.