Road Rules - Trucker Edition

This segment is from trucker to trucker featuring points we all make to eachother sometimes with the use of sign language through our windows, or verbally over the CB radio.

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Here’s a brief highlight of what professional truck drivers will agree on and what the rooks need to know before taking the wheel to the highways.

Pull up when you’re done fueling. This can’t be said enough. There’s nothing worse than waiting behind a truck that isn’t fueling and the driver is M.IA. Don’t make another driver wait for you to run your errands or to take your 30. Pump your diesel, DEF, and reefer, and move along speedily. If there isn’t another truck in the pull up, you should be able to get all 3 services in 15 minutes. We’ve all got somewhere to be, so don’t assume another drivers responsibility to adhere to your schedule if you’re the type to throw a wrench in theirs.

Let another truck over. You know first hand how hard it is dodging four wheelers all day than to add to the headache. If you can get over safely, then do so. Be courteous and watch out for one another, give your fellow driver the space he needs, and set the example.

Don’t be a “passhole.” Don’t speed up when another truck is trying to pass you. You didn’t realize your adaptive cruise control set you at 60 MPH in a 70 MPH speed zone but don't punish the next driver for it. You leave them hanging out in the left lane to slow down traffic even though you were the one falling behind. Let the driver do their thing to pass smoothly, and wait to get back to speed when you’re both in the clear.

Stay off my back doors. You wouldn’t expect another trucker to pull up on you, like you personally were the reason they're running late but it will happen. Don't be that guy. The easy solution is to watch upcoming traffic in your lane so you know ahead of time to get over so you can pass quickly and safely. If you think trying to keep a football field distance in front of you was hard, imagine trying to do so with another truck stuck to your bumper, pushing you down the road at 65 MPH. Respect the space behind that trailer in front of you because you know better.

Do not cut off another truck. Period.

No one likes the Jake Brake Jack. You know the guy; bumper to bumper traffic and he’s got his jake brakes set on max to let everyone know he's rolling 10 feet forward. A true professional driver knows how to keep safe distance in heavy traffic with light pressure on the brake pedal. Jake brake Jack doesn’t consider that he’s got multiple team trucks around him and someone’s trying to sleep, he just wants to put his straight pipes to good use. Allowing your diesel motor roll on a low gear resistance and you will find that you barely need your brakes in a slow crawl, let alone the jake brake.

Utilize your marker interrupter, or don’t? This is an ongoing debate between truckers, with no end in sight. Some truckers hate that you’ll flash your high beams to let them know they’re clear, then there are the rest of us that are less prideful. You’ll find yourself in a blinding storm with rain, snow, or ice building up on your side view mirrors, to the point that you're hesitant to get over, but then the driver behind you gives you a quick flash, and it sets you at ease to merge over. You won’t appreciate it when you’re blinded by high beams in clear weather, but you will understand the calming effect a quick conformation can bring on rough roads. There is no correct way to communicate to other drivers; high beams, marker interrupter, or light control panel - either way you will get your point across. Whichever suits you, this small line of communication makes all of our jobs just a little bit easier. Looking for a rule of thumb? In bad weather, flash your high beams, and in clear weather use your marker interrupter.

The left lane is for passing. For truckers, the middle lane is our left lane. Due to a ridiculous and outdated road system that will cut us off from using the 2 left lanes on a 4 lane highway, or the 3 left lanes on a 5+ lane interstate, you will notice the battle between these lanes in your first few days of driving a rig. Use your defensive driving skills with full intention to keep traffic flowing. Yes, you will have to be on constant alert for merging traffic entering the interstate, and yes, you will come up on a slower truck eventually - but there is nothing worse than being hung to dry out in the wrong lane when you're attempting to pass impeding traffic. If you block the left lanes, you are causing a much greater slow down behind you while contributing to unnecessary brake checks. The left lane is for passing, so get back over.