Let this be the direct line of communication from the trucking industry to the two wheelers and the “four wheelers.” Professional truck drivers have learned to respect the roads, and all of the travelers, road trippers, and commuters sharing it with us. Though the only point becoming a lesson to us, is the avoidable accidents we see on a daily basis. These simple tips and motivation on your part to practice these tips, will show you how to become a better driver and allow truckers to more easily share the road with you.
We have compiled a list of “Trucker Road Rules” for driving around rigs and big trucks alike.
▪︎ First and formost, stay off your phone. It’s sad to have to say, but it’s become a game of frogger to swerve around all the texters drifting into our lanes. Pay attention while you’re behind the wheel and wait to find a safe place to use your phone.
▪︎ Let the truck merge. If you are coming up on a big truck with his left blinker on yet you decide to accelerate to get past him - you are slowing the driver even more which will in turn, lead to a much longer slow down. If a driver turns their signal on, trust that it’s for a good reason and our prompt timing can be crucial for everyone on the road. Allowing the truck to merge will keep traffic flowing smoother and safer. So keep in mind, the next time you come up to slow truck trying to regain speed, know it was likely caused by the individual who decided not to allow that truck to merge due to their own ignorance and disregard.
▪︎ When merging onto a large interstate or highway, the right travel lane has the right of way. As soon as you turn onto the on ramp, you should be getting to highway speed and checking your mirror for vehicles traveling in the right lane. This will allow for a smooth and safe merge. If there is a large truck in the right lane, respect it, because if you try to argue with the rig, you will not win.
▪︎ When driving next to a big truck, be mindful and do not sit in our blind spots. (Next to the doors of the cab and along side the trailer) We are not racing so please pass and keep it moving.
▪︎ Heed the golden rule - “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” This mean when passing a large truck from behind, please pass to the left as it will give us a faster line of sight of your vehicle. The blind spot is much larger on the passenger side of trucks. If you pay attention, more than likely we are trying to get back into the right lane and you’re simply slowing us down from getting over and “out of the way.”
▪︎ When passing a large truck, you should wait until you can see the entire front of the cab in your rearview mirrors, from the pavement to the roof of the truck. This is a good rule of thumb for leaving ample space in front of a rig for everyones safety.
▪︎ The same goes for riding behind a big truck. If you are riding too close behind us or “knocking on our doors” it’s going to be impossible for you to see what is happening in front of us. If an unexpected situation leads to an emergency stop, you won’t know where to turn to avoid the issue and you are likely to end up under our trailer.
▪︎ When traveling in a mountainous area, it’s key that you understand what is going on with that big truck. When traveling on an incline, trucks lose speed and will likely be traveling well under the speed limit. Those losing speed or traveling under the speed limit, will turn on their flashers to alert others. Be cautious for these slow moving trucks. Please stay to the left and pass promptly.
▪︎ This is opposite for the downgrade, trucks will start to gain speed due to the weight they’re carrying and will need to keep it slow, as to not lose control or lose their brakes. So the same rule applies, stay to the left and pass promptly.
▪︎ Truckers all across the states use the same language when traveling down the highways and a lot of it is in the lights…
• Consistent braking combined with four-way flashers mean traffic is slowing rapidly or coming to a complete stop.
• Flashing high beams is a simple signal for clearing you to get over safely or, the more commonly known, request for you to merge to the right so we pass safely.
• Quick use of the four way flashers can also be a way to say thank you for letting us over.
• Flashers (while traveling normally) can also communicate that there is a hazard up ahead or on the immediate shoulder. You might notice the truck inching closer to the dotted lines or even split the lane, to allow more space from the shoulder. Allow the truck space, for the hazard to not be made worse.
Paying attention to big trucks over the road can deter you from danger or even save you from a traffic ticket. Watching truck traffic can tell you a lot about your surroundings and current road conditions. For example, if you notice multiple trucks getting over from the right lane, it’s likely that there is a hazard up ahead, either in the right lane or off the shoulder. You’ll quickly find out that’s not a lane that you want to be in. You can also easily avoid a ticket; when you notice a convoy or large group of trucks going slow, there’s a good chance of a smokey up ahead. With that in mind, remember that not only is our line of sight better and our driving skills more refined but statistics prove we are more likely to survive a crash. Don't end up on the other end of that statistic and learn to share the road with the ones who watch over you. At the end of the day we want to get home to our families, as much as we want you to, too.
Sincerely, The Trucking Community