with other operators, the overwhelming majority
of truckers are courteous, careful, and highly skilled.
They're professionals whose "office" happens to
be the road. Truckers have a very difficult job.
They have a responsibility to get a large vehicle
with a heavy load to a destination, often with a
very tight deadline. As traffic on the roadways
becomes more congested and drivers become more aggressive,
a trucker's job becomes more difficult.
truck drivers work away from home for two- or three-week
periods. Some company drivers share the cab of a
tractor with another driver, driving for four hours
and trying to sleep for four hours. If we consider
the number of times they have experienced inconsiderate
acts by other operators in their many miles, we
can begin to understand truckers' frustration.
Truck drivers usually communicate by flashing their
lights or by CB radio. When one truck passes another,
the vehicle being passed flashes his headlights
on to signal to the passing driver that the passing
move is complete and the trucker is clear to pull
back into the lane. If a driver is running with
headlights on, the driver might turn them off briefly
to give the same signal. Naturally, a trucker knows
when his or her truck has cleared the vehicle being
passed, but they signal each other in this manner
as a greeting or as evidence of the respect they
have for each other.
the passing vehicle has started to move back into
the lane, the passing driver will usually acknowledge
the flashing of headlights by flashing either the
clearance lights on the back of the trailer, or
four-way or emergency flashers. RVers can learn
to communicate with each other and with truckers
in the same manner.
to observe trucks you are passing to determine if
the headlights are on so you will not misinterpret
the headlight signal. Some trucks run with their
headlights on; others have daytime running lights
just as other vehicles do. Headlights are also used
to communicate when another vehicle is entering
an expressway. If a trucker encounters another truck
entering the expressway, he will briefly turn on
his headlights to signal the other driver and will
create space for the vehicle. The trucker will also
use this signal when passing another truck on a
multi-lane highway if the truck being passed is
quickly coming upon another vehicle and preparing
to pass. Once both vehicles are past the slower
vehicle, the other driver will pull back into the
right lane and allow the second truck to finish
his pass. If the exchange takes place when headlights
are in use, the driver in the overtaking vehicle
will momentarily turn off his headlights.
RVers can do the same as truckers. Vehicles equipped
with daytime running lights may have a switch that
enables the driver to momentarily turn off the headlights.
In vehicles equipped with daytime running lights
that cannot be turned off, during daylight hours
drivers can turn on their high beams and leave them
on for a few seconds. The signal will not be misinterpreted
for a passing signal if performed in this manner.
Some trucks are equipped with lights that are on
all the time, and they use this method to signal
The CB radio is also a helpful communication tool,
but many times things happen so quickly that it
is easier to use the lights as a signaling device.
Whenever the CB radio is used, truckers always refer
to the other vehicle by the company name or the
brand name of the tractor, often referring to the
color as well. This specific identification is used
because a radio signal travels a good distance and
another driver may misinterpret the message.
Together with Truck Drivers-
There are lots of little things we can do to help
our companions on the road. On those occasions when
a truck passes you on an interstate and you soon
approach a hill that will cause you to catch back
up with it near the top of the hill, disengage your
cruise control. Follow the truck up to the crest
of the hill with the knowledge that after you top
the hill, the truck is going to be out of your range.
thing we can do to make truckers' jobs a little
easier is to become more aware of parking in rest
areas. Often we see rest areas filled with recreation
vehicles parked right in the center near the rest
rooms. The rest areas may be so full that a trucker
can't stop to use the facilities. A more considerate
way to handle parking at rest stops is to stop in
the outlying lanes or, if the area is fairly full,
park along the side or at the end of the rest area
away from the marked lanes. Handle overnight stops
in the same manner.
you use the truck pumps to fill your vehicle, when
you are finished you should pull forward far enough
to open up the fuel lane for a truck or another
RV (especially at a Flying J RV island) before you
go in to pay your bill. In a service area, stop
your motorhome and signal a trucker that it is okay
to pull out in front of you so he doesn't have to
wait. Truckers do these things for each other-so
"Truck Smart" -
out of a trucker's blind spots or "No Zone," where
your vehicle is not visible by the trucker. Because
trucks are so much bigger than cars, they have
bigger blind spots. If you can't see the truck
driver's face in the side mirrors, the trucker
can't see you.
you pass a truck, do it carefully-and do it quickly.
Don't linger. Riding alongside could put you in
the trucker's No Zone.
pull in front of a truck and slow down. You will
quickly eliminate the truck driver's cushion of
safety and create a very hazardous situation.
to the right when a truck is passing you. You
may even want to slow down to make passing you
easier for the trucker.
your distance when you see a truck backing or
turning. These can be difficult maneuvers, so
help out by leaving plenty of room.
will feel increased wind turbulence when passing
a truck or when a truck passes you, so adjust
your steering appropriately.
your cool. No matter what happens on the road,
you can't let your emotions get the best of you
while you're driving.
these safety tips will increase your safety on the
road and will go a long way toward building good
relationships between RVers and truckers. And even
if you don't get the desired result from a trucker,
you can feel good knowing you did the right thing.
Frank Warren, a professional driver for Yellow Freight,
says it best: "There has to be a two-way street
when it comes to safety and courtesy. The truck
driver and the motorist must learn to live with
one another out on the highway. We've got to respect