Everyone has some kind of story about a close encounter with a truck or something wild that a trucker did at some point. Someone I know told me a story recently about two trucks, driving side by side on a two lane highway that actually bumped mirrors because they were so close to one another. Neither one seemed to react, and they both moved along seamlessly. There are also all those “too slow up hills/too fast down hills” comments, or complaints about trucks moving into their lane abruptly. I have a friend who said when he was young, he was riding with his arm out the window and a truck zipped up in the next lane over and hit his hand….was that really the truck driver’s fault? Sometimes there are reasons for the things that happen with trucks, and sometimes we, as motorists, can do things to avoid negative interactions with truckers. HG Logistics LLC, a third party, asset-based freight broker in Cincinnati, Ohio has a real interest in keeping drivers of semi trucks and regular automobiles safe on the road…here are some insights we have to share:
What about those hills?
Semi trucks are usually carrying a lot of weight. The maximum weight for a tractor trailer and its load is 80,000 lbs. Hauling all of that weight up a hill is quite a feat, and any vehicle is going to lose power doing so…conversely, a trucker doesn’t want to ride his breaks going down a hill and lose the momentum he is gaining for the next uphill climb. Doing so would cause the truck to travel even more slowly up the next hill and hurt his fuel efficiency. So, what can you do? You can be patient if you are stuck behind a truck going uphill, or pass if it is safe. Also, be sure that you are not the slow car in front of a tractor-trailer impeding him once he gains some momentum. It is much easier for you to move over a lane if a truck is approaching you from behind than for him to slam his brakes or quickly change lanes. Remember, 80,000 lbs is behind that guy!
Why do they change lanes so much?
Truck drivers run into a lot of reasons for changing lanes, like the slow vehicle impeding him that I just mentioned. Also, truck drivers sit up higher than we do, so they can see farther along the road than we do. Truckers may see a construction site, accident or other hazard and want to get over early rather than waiting until the last minute to make their move and possibly make traffic situations worse. What can you do? Make sure that you are not riding in a truck’s blind spot. There are several places around trucks where the driver can’t see, even with mirrors. Learn where those spots are (many trucks have them shown right on the rear doors of the trailer) and avoid them. Leave plenty of room if you see a truck with the turning signals on. It is better to be nice to the guy in the big rig than to irritate him.
What about all that swaying?
You may have noticed that trailers sometimes sway quite a bit, especially in windy situations, and sometimes even into the next lane. This happens because all of the surface area of those big trucks and trailers acts like a sail and becomes difficult to control, especially when a load is light and the trailer isn’t as weighed down. What you can do is, again, to stay out of blind spots and to give trucks plenty of room. If you need to pass, try your best to do so quickly and don’t pull back in front of the truck too soon, because there are blind spots in front too!
So, how should you pass?
If you want to pass a big rig, try to pass as quickly as possible and hug the outside part of the lane. Pass on the left side whenever possible. The right side is fully of blind spots and they can barely see you! After passing the tractor trailer, don’t cut in front. Practice good truck safety training tips and give them much more room than you give regular cars. It can take a fully loaded rig the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop from 60mph. Not only is it dangerous and rude to cut in front of a large vehicle, but it’s also illegal in many states. Don’t take your chances. Give truckers as much room as possible.
Remember, truckers bring us all of our goods. They are out there working hard to take care of their families and keep our needs met. That is a very important task, and they want to get home safely, just like we do. Take your time to learn how to be safe around trucks, and your drives might just go more smoothly! Be safe out there!
If you would like to work with a company that takes safety seriously and cares about its people, please contact HG Logistics LLC. We would love to discuss our freight services, broker services, and even our employment opportunities with you!
Contact us using the information to the left or by simply calling 513-244-3026. Ask for our GM, Doug!