Racers, pacers, and pacemakers

Topic 20937 | Page 1

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Pianoman's Comment
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I'm starting to come up with names for some of the different kinds of people we encounter on the road.

Racers--These people, as the name implies, just have to get there first...even if it's only 30 seconds sooner. We usually encounter these people in trucks governed about the same speed as ours, carrying slightly different weights, in hilly areas where our speeds tend to fluctuate alot.

Pacers--These people are probably the most annoying people on the road. Whether you are passing them or vice versa, once you're next to each other they will match your speed. If you try slowing down to get behind them so as to not hold up traffic, they'll typically get in front of you and then slow down. Sooo annoying. I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere so 1 or 2 mph makes little difference to me, but come now--learn to drive, will you? Typically, cars are the ones guilty of this nonsense, although I've encountered a few trucks that did it to me as well.

Pacemakers--These drivers represent some of the better drivers on the road. You'll usually find these people keeping a consistent pace right around the speed limit, flowing well with traffic (not tailgating and slamming on the brakes). If I'm bored or getting tired, I'll kick my speed down a notch until someone like this passes me, then follow them about a quarter mile back until one of us leaves the highway. I like to challenge myself to see if I can out-run them by staying on the highway until either my time runs out or the other driver exits the highway first. Of course other drivers follow me too sometimes. Seems to make the time go by faster.

Driving goals--Be a pacemaker, not a racer or a pacer.

smile.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

I can go 63, so every time I'm passing someone who's going 62 on the open road, I'm a racer.

When I safely merge in front of another truck in a metro area, but then have to react to distant brake lights/4-ways in front of me, I'm a pacer.

And when I'm just cruising at 63, not a care in the world, only changing lanes to exit or pass a significantly slower vehicle, I'm a pacemaker.

Did i get the concepts right or am I way off?

Pianoman's Comment
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No Unholychaos, you're off lol. Not that it matters--I don't think I'll be coining any phrases or terms any time soon haha.

If you pass someone who's going 62, you're doing your job and people behind you can deal with it. If you pass that same person, then they pass you, then you pass them, etc, all in just a few miles and you're holding up traffic in the process, I'd call you a racer. If you're really that close in speed, does it really help you to keep switching positions? No. It just causes traffic issues for a mile behind you. Wait til you get out of all the hills, then pass him and be done with it.

If you pass someone and then have to slow down for a workzone and they pass you again, that's their problem--they shouldn't be speeding! Lol. In your example, you're driving your rig safely, not pacing. But if you're doing 45 in a 45 and someone passes you doing 48 and you match their speed while they're passing you, that's pacing...and it's annoying as hell lol. If you want to run 48, wait til they pass you and then bump up your speed.

If you're driving safely and managing your space properly, you're a pacemaker. I guess my whole point about "pacers" and "racers" is that they aren't managing their space properly. They tend to run alongside other vehicles and play stupid games on the road to get somewhere 30 seconds sooner. It's annoying (hence the petty name-calling I've shared here) and it's not really all that safe. A conscientious driver will pay attention to what's going on around him/her and may drop his speed now and then in order to be safe and help with the traffic flow. I just thought it was funny to assign names to them.

Errol V.'s Comment
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There's one that's not uncommon, I see one almost once a day:

Bulldozer: inhabits the left lane. Usually runs about 65 -70 until he gets behind a slower vehicle. Then he'll move up to 3 feet from the bumper. This intimidates the slower vehicle and forces them to move to the right.

In that situation, I prefer to slow down to a safer speed if the bulldozer insists on tailing me. (But being limited to 62 MPH, I'm usually in the right lane unless I'm passing a Schneider.)

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

There's one that's not uncommon, I see one almost once a day:

Bulldozer: inhabits the left lane. Usually runs about 65 -70 until he gets behind a slower vehicle. Then he'll move up to 3 feet from the bumper. This intimidates the slower vehicle and forces them to move to the right.

In that situation, I prefer to slow down to a safer speed if the bulldozer insists on tailing me. (But being limited to 62 MPH, I'm usually in the right lane unless I'm passing a Schneider.)

Oh yeah, good one! Yeah those drivers are scary, especially the ones in big trucks.

It's fun coming up with all these terms so I have names for the people I'm swearing at (in the privacy of my cab of course...and not on the CB).

smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

There's one that's not uncommon, I see one almost once a day:

Bulldozer: inhabits the left lane. Usually runs about 65 -70 until he gets behind a slower vehicle. Then he'll move up to 3 feet from the bumper. This intimidates the slower vehicle and forces them to move to the right.

In that situation, I prefer to slow down to a safer speed if the bulldozer insists on tailing me. (But being limited to 62 MPH, I'm usually in the right lane unless I'm passing a Schneider.)

I have driven trucks that were governed at 62, 65, and 66 mph. Now that I'm driving an ungoverned truck, I have a little different perspective on this. If the speed limit is 70 or 75 or 80, and your truck is governed at 62 or 63 or 65, you probably shouldn't be in the left lane to pass someone going one mile per hour slower than you unless there's no one coming up behind you for a mile or more. Otherwise you are impeding traffic with your slow truck and creating unsafe situations. (Please don't misunderstand me to say that it's OK to ride 3 feet off someone's bumper!)

Let's do the math. Say your truck is 75 feet long, and the truck you want to pass is also 75 feet long. And you will probably want to move over to the left to start your pass when you are at least 150 feet behind the first truck, and you won't want to move back to the right until you are at least 100 feet in front of the truck you are passing. That's a total of 400 feet you will need to overtake the other truck.

Oh, that's not so far. Heck, at 65 mph, I'm traveling 95.33 feet per second. I'll cover that 400 feet in just over 4 seconds. No problem!

Ah, but of course it's not how fast you are traveling relative to the highway. It's how fast you are traveling relative to the other truck. Let's say he's driving 64 mph. That's 93.87 feet per second. So your relative speed is 1.47 feet per second. That means to cover the 400 feet you need to pass him, it's going to take 272.67 seconds, or a shade over 4 1/2 minutes. If the traffic a mile behind you is traveling 10 mph faster than you, they will catch up to you in six minutes. If they are traveling 15 mph faster, they will catch up to you in four minutes. So yeah, 4 1/2 minutes to pass is probably OK, but those last 30 seconds might involve having someone who wants to drive 80 behind you after they've had to slow down 15 mph so you could go 1 mph faster.

So, four and a half minutes of your slow ass hanging out in the left lane going 10 or 15 miles per hour slower than the speed limit, and you wonder why someone who is hoping to drive at or close to the speed limit in order to make their delivery deadline might get a little frustrated and tailgate you?

Again, I'm not condoning them tailgating. That's always stupid. But it is at least as stupid to think you are justified when you impede traffic just so you can get to your destination 8.7 minutes faster. (That's literally how much time you will save driving 600 miles at 65 mph instead of 64 mph.)

My point is that if you're in a governed truck, please think long and hard about moving over to that left lane if traffic is passing you 5 or 10 or 15 mph faster than you are traveling.

Is it worth it? Are you really a courteous driver if your default assumption is that since you have the right to pass someone, you ought to pass them? Is saving 15 minutes over the course of a day really more important than the probably dozens of other drivers who are going to have to deal with the dangerous speed differential you are choosing to create by moving over to the hammer lane?

Please note that I will rarely be that truck in the hammer lane that you see. First of all, I won't tailgate, so if you're going that slow, I'll be at least four seconds behind you. (I will be cussing you for driving so damn slow in the hammer lane to pass someone who is going 2 mph slower than you, especially if I have a tight window, so don't expect a friendly wave when I finally get past you.) Second, most of the time I drive on two-lane roads with a speed limit of 60 or 65, roads that most of you will very rarely go down since the vast majority of traffic there is local trucks running rural Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Third, when I am on the interstate , I usually drive 72, since my truck is geared low and that puts my tach at 1700. I will say that at 72 mph, I very rarely pass another truck around here, and I rarely get passed.

Yes, the behavior described is dumb and frustrating. Just be sure that while you're busy condemning them, you aren't the one who is causing someone else to think of you as dumb and frustrating.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

100% agree with Bud. I want to make a small correction though:

But it is at least as stupid to think you are justified when you impede traffic just so you can get to your destination 8.7 minutes faster. (That's literally how much time you will save driving 600 miles at 65 mph instead of 64 mph.)

I don't think it'll slow you down even 8.7 minutes to stay behind that other truck. My reasoning is that it's very highly unlikely that you'll be stuck behind that truck for more than a couple hours tops. So we're talking maybe 2 minutes or so in the grand scheme of things.

The reason I brought up the "racer" one is because of a situation I had happen last week. I was doing 75 on the interstate when another truck tried to pass me not even doing 1 mph faster than me. I can't be 100% sure, but at the rate he was passing me, it would have taken him probably 10 minutes. Absolutely stupid. I slowed down and let him pass, only to pass him easily at the next hill. To make a long story short, he ended up getting stuck behind a slower truck and I left him about a quarter mile behind me. In the next hour or so he never made any noticeable gains on me and got off the interstate before I did. What was the point in him impeding traffic to pass me? None. He just didn't want to let off the cruise.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Bud A.'s Comment
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What was the point in him impeding traffic to pass me? None. He just didn't want to let off the cruise.

That's the money quote right there: "He just didn't want to let off the cruise."

PlanB's Comment
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Funny stuff. I've only been on the road for 12 days with my trainer and I've noticed all the above type of driver's. My trainer likes to keep his truck at 60mph to save fuel so we are always in the right lane getting passed. I laugh at how many times the same trucks pass us in a day. Very often I've seen the same trucks pass us 3 or 4 times in the same day. I am of course referring to easily identifiable trucks with unique markings. Not thinking 4 Swift trucks are the same truck.

Only one thing tends to bother me. I'm usually only going 60 so I fully expect damn near every truck to pass me. But if your going to pass me.... Make sure your able to complete the damn pass. Seems every day I get the drivers who try to pass me on a hill and don't have the power to pass. Then they are looking at me like I'm an Ahole that won't let them by. I'm in cruise control at a low relative speed in the right lane.... Seriously I'm not racing you.

Just the other day I'm loaded heavy creeping up a mountain. I'm in the right lane with my flashers on struggling to maintain 30mph. Another truck comes up the center lane trying to pass me, but he must also be heavy and simply can't do it. I glanced over as he had finally caught up to my door, and he seems ****ed off that I won't slow down to let him get in the lane infront of me. Sorry I'm not dumping what little momentum I have because you made a poor choice.

The previous day I was on a rural very twisty and hilly road doing 3-5 mph under the speed limit. An empty flat bed came up behind me and got on my ass. I felt bad as this guy is stuck behind a rookie still trying to get comfortable with the truck. A few minutes later as we got to a straight away I moved over to the right, slowed down to let him pass, and flashed my marker lights to try and signal I was letting him by. As he passed he flipped me off.

I guess some folks just expect you to get out of their way...

Oh well it's all a learning experience.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I think a lot of the frustration boils down to the fact that people are terrible at even basic math. Everyone needs to relax, think things through out there, and be more patient and courteous.

Bud, I enjoyed the passive-aggressive rant from the "good parent" who is only trying to deliver the tough message to the slow trucks who need it. I could almost see the vein bulging in your forehead and the beads of sweat forming as you tried to force a smile and pretend you're not that mad at everyone now that you're able to run a little faster.

rofl-3.gif

I think most of the time the biggest problem is the truck who is being passed but won't let off the cruise for just a moment. If someone is able to get alongside you, they're clearly faster than you over the long run and you should let them pass.

It's also true that stubborn people tend to be hypocrites who always think they're right. So the same guy who won't back off for a moment to let you pass is the same guy who gives you the finger if you won't do it for him.

The most important thing is for everyone to keep a cool head, relax, and be patient. Bud, put away the calculator and relax. You're not going to lose 8.7 minutes in a day yourself. If you keep forcing yourself to smile through that grimace you're going to strain a cheek muscle.

PlanB, let the guy pass if he's able to get alongside you. You'll be in that position plenty of times yourself.

I have millions of miles out there at this point in every sort of vehicle imaginable. I've been on both sides of it. In the end, the correct answer is to relax and be considerate. We're Americans. We rarely have what the rest of the world would consider real problems. Real problems require guns to solve, not calculators.

"Americans are so considerate and rational. They have such a well thought out perspective. They're always thinking about how they can help others and make the world a better place" said no one, ever.

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