Appreciation From A Four Wheeler

Topic 21266 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Michael C.'s Comment
member avatar

Maybe it's odd to write this here, but I've lurked on this forum for a while and I wanted to just write some words of appreciation.

A few years ago I got into hypermiling. Not drafting or anything dangerous. Basically knowing how to drive efficiently and safely: obeying speed limits, observing following distance as well as topography and, most importantly, paying attention to everything on the road--you know, predicting other drivers' behavior. So I suppose I'm not really a hypermiler--I leave the ice vests at home, thank you very much--but I like the term for its economy (of language). Much easier to write "hypermiler" than "fuel efficient driver," even with its uneasy connotations.

Anyhow, after hypermiling for a sustained period of time, I began to appreciate something I'd ignored in over a decade of commuting: that no one, and I mean no one, knew how to drive. To be fair, I hadn't known how to drive either. In my pre-hypermiling days, I was the jackass barreling down 95 as fast as possible and hopping lanes, your typical gas-pedal-gas-pedal impatient nutjob. Yet now I noticed, for perhaps the first time, that ordinary driving was DANGEROUS--and I'd been in two serious accidents before. Those accidents, I realized, were not what I'd originally interpreted them to be: anomalous, freak, once-in-a-lifetime events. They were the casual yet brutal result of poor situational awareness. It felt like I had woken up to a nightmare where distracted and drunk drivers were out to kill me. It suddenly seemed miraculous that motorists made it to the grocery store without rolling over.

But one class of drivers, I steadily realized, knew what it was doing: truck drivers. In fact, truck drivers were so demonstrably better than everyone else on the road that I started gravitating toward them, and, no, not to draft. To stay safe. Truckers were engaging in the sort of behavior that I had recently discovered to effectuate safe driving. Without question they are a cut above "four wheelers" and consequently I always feel safer around them. When they're behind me in traffic jams they stay at a safe distance. When they're in front of me they don't slam on their brakes. So on and so forth. Obviously some truck drivers are maniacs, just like everyone else, and I get out of their way asap. But the "maniac rate per x thousand drivers" is clearly way, way, way lower than it is with the general masses.

I've found the best "strategy" of safe driving is to predict what other drivers do. For example, some time ago I was in the middle lane passing someone, as I usually drive in the right-most lane around or slightly-below the posted speed limit. I noticed about a mile back some hotshot behind me trying to break the sonic barrier. The left lane was clogged with cars only going, I don't know, 85 mph, clearly not fast enough for his liking. I eased my foot off the gas, figuring that he was the type of driver who'd shoot into the right lane to try and weave between me and the car I was already passing--and sure enough that's exactly what he did. My passenger understood the sin I had committed and asked, "Why did you slow down and let that [insert vulgar term here] pass you? I would've sped up and cut him off." Of course you would have. Anyway, I present this anecdote because I feel like no one pays attention to anything and, when they do, it's to act like my passenger--an [insert vulgar term here]. When riding alongside family and friends they're straight tunnel visioning, at best examining mirrors when crossing lanes; my dad's an exception, but he was not only a lifelong commuter but a truck mechanic who once had a CDL , so I can't really count him. I stopped driving with an old friend in college because he once cut a semi off. Mortified, I asked if he had suffered a traumatic brain injury without my knowledge, and he shrugged it off with typical motorist logic: "If he slams into me, it's his fault." Right. Anyway, this forum contains considerable evidence of truck drivers exhibiting heightened levels of situational awareness. Post after post of drivers holding themselves to a high standard and always trying to figure out, in case of an accident, what they did wrong or could've done better. It's inspiring.

I've developed a great respect for you guys and gals over the years as a conscious driver/hypermiler. So I just wanted to say thanks. Not all of us four wheelers are distracted, drunk, or stupid. Some of us appreciate what you do and how you keep idiots safe from themselves. I shake my head whenever some fool cuts off a semi, as if the truck couldn't smash his SUV into smithereens. Then I remember that he's playing with professionals and they'll keep him safe, even if he doesn't know it.

In closing I'll echo what's been said here many times: that it's not only absurd but disgraceful that you're classified as "unskilled" workers. For those of you going into trucking, understand that it's an incredibly important job and we in this country do a miserable job appreciating it. Well. I appreciate it. Thanks.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Another Lurker comes out of the shadows with a really great post!

Welcome aboard Michael - I'm hoping we hear more from you. It's nice to hear from a sane four wheeler!

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for that post, Michael. A professional driver will be paying attention and doing whatever is possible to operate that vehicle safely in the interest of protecting not only themselves, but other "less than stellar drivers" on the roadways with them.

Are there boneheaded truck drivers who need their CDL revoked? Absolutely, but luckily there are more conscientious commercial drivers, in my opinion anyway, than there are boneheads. Sadly the boneheads just stand out more giving us all a bad rep.

By the way, what you are doing.. situational awareness, always leaving yourself an out, looking well ahead for potential hazards, etc.. that's good driving and what is commonly referred to as "The Smith System". I was taught that as a part of driver's education back when I was 15 getting my drivers permit back in the dinosaur age lol. Many CDL schools and trucking companies teach that even now. It was "developed" back in the 1950's I believe.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Michael C.'s Comment
member avatar

Another Lurker comes out of the shadows with a really great post!

Welcome aboard Michael - I'm hoping we hear more from you. It's nice to hear from a sane four wheeler!

Not much else I can add unfortunately. Maybe stories from my dad of driving a rig through downtown Boston in an ice storm. I probably know that story by heart, at this point.

Thank you for that post, Michael. A professional driver will be paying attention and doing whatever is possible to operate that vehicle safely in the interest of protecting not only themselves, but other "less than stellar drivers" on the roadways with them.

Are there boneheaded truck drivers who need their CDL revoked? Absolutely, but luckily there are more conscientious commercial drivers, in my opinion anyway, than there are boneheads. Sadly the boneheads just stand out more giving us all a bad rep.

By the way, what you are doing.. situational awareness, always leaving yourself an out, looking well ahead for potential hazards, etc.. that's good driving and what is commonly referred to as "The Smith System". I was taught that as a part of driver's education back when I was 15 getting my drivers permit back in the dinosaur age lol. Many CDL schools and trucking companies teach that even now. It was "developed" back in the 1950's I believe.

Yeah...that term's vaguely familiar. This excellent post on the site really captures the sentiment, I think, with "forecast driving":

http://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-3035/trying-to-teach-proper-driver-forecasting

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: http://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More