Saturday, March 10, 2012

Letter to Truckers

Dear Truckers,

Let me first thank you for all the work you do. I am aware that you work long hours and drive in dangerous conditions in order to bring supplies to people like me. I appreciate it. Really I do.

And I try and do my part to make sure that you do so safely. I do not travel immediately behind you. I maintain quite a bit of distance. When I pass you I try and do it in a way so that you can see me. When I have passed you I make sure I can clearly see you in my rear view mirror before moving in front of you. I may annoy cars behind me in order to maintain such safety, but that's their problem. I can't hear them swearing at me.

In return I ask some things.

Please do not pass me on narrow winding roads in the black of night. I know that you have places to go and things to do, but so do I and I would like to get there. Sure I may be going slower than you like, but that's because it's a NARROW WINDING ROAD IN THE BLACK OF NIGHT and 180 km an hour is simply not safe. Your actions could very well result in meeting up with someone coming from the opposite direction and if you're beside me when you do this or close in front of me the results might not be pretty.

When the rain is pouring down I tend to go slower than the posted speed limits. Why? Because if I go the speed limit I won't be driving, I'll be flying as my car hydroplanes along the road. My car is not built to fly and so the normal safety controls like brakes and steering are not in place. I know it's frustrating to follow a pokey little car when you want to travel 180 kmph but when you pass me you create hurricane conditions where water engulfs my car and I am completely blinded. If you still choose to create a tsunami for me then at least do it on a straight road with no other cars around so that I don't drive off a cliff while I'm blinded. Better still, if it's night time pull over and go to sleep. I may not have that option but I know you've got those trucks all pimped out with stereos and beds and lights. Oh and snow conditions aren't much safer for passing. You create a blizzard when you pass by. It's hard to see when everything has turned completely white.

As far as I know, and I could be wrong about this and if so I will apologize and take back my statement, yield signs are for everyone. Including truckers.

                                          They look something like this.

Or this.

                                           Or this.

However they look they tend to be a triangle with the pointy side down and more often than not actually have the word "YIELD" printed on it. This does not mean "speed up and force whomever's coming into the ditch". You actually have to slow down and maybe even stop if there is a car coming because believe it or not, just because you're bigger does not mean you have the right of way. I know it's inconvenient when you're traveling 180 and you're pulling a hundred thousand tons of stuff, but I have yet to see a sign that says "YIELD IF YOU WANT TO".

Before you pass the vehicle in front of you, please check and make sure that I'm not trying to pass you. Sure, I could stay behind you my entire trip and not see a thing in front of me, including important signs, but I prefer not to do that. I do not suddenly swing out from behind you. I start my pass well enough back that you should see me. I cannot help it if at some point I am in your blind side. It's inevitable that there is at least one. So you actually have to make sure there's no one in the passing lane before you pass. If I hit you, because you've suddenly swung out right in front of me, or you hit me, you probably won't feel it. I'm just a bug. But it might actually kill me and the children I have in my car. We will be on the side of the road in a grisly mess while you travel your merry little way.

Some highways go through the center of towns. You cannot travel highway speeds through the center of a town. In the movies when cars are zooming through towns people merely jump out of the way because everyone is an olympic athlete and can do so, and no one gets hurt because they have the body composition of Gumby, but in real life, a truck traveling at highways speeds could actually kill someone who is on a crosswalk with their groceries in one hand and their toddler's hand in the other. Did you know that pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk even if you are bigger and badder? It's far easier to stop if you go the posted speed and since there's so much more of you to stop you should actually go slower than the posted speed. In fact it would be nice if you could just avoid those small towns all together unless you are actually delivering to a store in town. There is usually a way around a town.

I think that's it. I appreciate your time.


Anna Maria Junus (who does not drive a truck)


Mary and Eden Z said...

From the daughter of a trucker,
Not all truckers are like this. In fact I think most of them are not. These few bad apples are just that - bad apples. Did you know while the regular work week for all of us is legislated at 40 hours, a trucker's legislated work week is 75 hours? They travel at night because there is much less traffic for them to worry about (and they do worry about us), and then they sleep at the side or in a truck stop in the wee early hours of the morning to sleep through rush hour. Many times there isn't a way around a small town. Most truckers prefer a large highway (because it is large) and so are on smaller highways because it is faster, closer or on the way to their destination. Bravo for driving safely around truckers, drivers like my Dad really appreciate that, keep it up!
~Daughter of a trucker

Cindy Beck, author said...

Got a laugh from this. Thanks, Anna!

No doubt there are a number of safe truckers, as Mama Mary says--and I thank them for it. However, it's the ones driving down the road texting, dialing the phone, or reading a book that worry me--all while pretending to drive that mega-ton vehicle that could flatten 15 cars in one fell swoop.