Truck Drivers and Similar Species

We’ve all seen them. Those huge U-Haul or Budget trucks that people rent. We drive right along side of them, and never stop to think that the drivers – are not professionals. They are just people like us, at the wheel of a monster truck that could do us serious damage, if the driver is impaired, drunk, on dope, or just inexperienced.
It reminds me of that old joke: The fighter pilot who suddenly realized that the lethal weapon he’s flying was built by the lowest bidder!

Big truck drivers (the 18 wheeler genre) have changed over the years, too. At one time, if you saw a motorist stalled on the side of the road, there would be a truck stopped and the driver helping the poor soul change a tire, or whatever. The one time “Chivalry of the Road” is long gone.  In fact, I was driving beside a tractor-trailer and the guy started over in my lane and I was on the dirt being forced into the median. So I blew the horn at him and sped up to pass. Would you believe the guy followed me to the next rest stop and as I got out of the car, he approached me in a threatening manner for blowing the horn at him? I actually had to advise him that if he didn’t get back into his goddam truck, I would blow his head off.
I live just outside of Atlanta where two major expressways merge, and there is also a “perimeter highway” to bypass the city. All of those are full of trucks, all of which are exceeding the speed limit by 25 to 30 mph. Of course, there are a number of major wrecks on those roads every day of the week – and in 9 out of 10 there is an 18 wheeler involved.

Let me give you some advice which a former truck driver friend gave me. “Watch their turn signal lights,” he said. “They will give you three flashes, and then they ARE coming over into your lane.” After that I began observing that warning, and it is true. And if your rear view mirror is full of a truck grill, get over and let him by. Because tail-gating by trucks is a major cause of accidents. It’s not Kansa out there anymore, Dorothy – so watch yourself and be careful.

johnny b.



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One Comment on “Truck Drivers and Similar Species”

  1. Michael Hopkins Says:

    I had a similar experience driving north on I-75 in Gainsville, Florida in 1988. A Wal-Mart trucker wanted to get over into my lane. There was bumper to bumper traffic in both lanes and he, for some reason, thought getting over into my far left lane was going to change things for him. He started to signal but with car right in front of me I had nowhere I could go. He started to come over and I held the horn down and had to go into part of the grass median to avoid being hit. He tried this several times and made me so mad I wouldn’t give in. Since we really didn’t have cell phones readily available then there was no immediate way to turn him in. I didn’t have anything to write his truck number down on.

    When I returned to Atlanta, I promptly wrote the home office in Bentonville, Arkansas. I made sure I pointed out that I had a friend driving an SUV behind me who witnessed everything and I was prepared to sue and go on Atlanta television (I reminded them how large of an area in North GA an Atlanta TV station could reach). Two executives from the home office called me immediately to apologize and told me that they would fire the trucker if they could figure out who it was. They said that many of their rigs were hooked up to independent truckers and without the number they wouldn’t be able to track down who it was. I found it hard to believe they were not able to narrow down through logs which truck was coming through that part of Florida on that day. I dropped my threat to sue since I couldn’t prove which trucker it was.

    These days, going through North Georgia to Chattanooga, I pay close attention to those 18 wheelers as they can surround you on all sides. My father couldn’t understand why I wanted a Yukon to drive around in. I took him up to Chattanooga to visit someone. After that trip, he never questioned me again.

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