Experienced Drivers: How Do You Drive During Big City Rush Hour Traffic On A Major Freeway?

Topic 6484 | Page 1

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Joshua C.'s Comment
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I'm about a week into my OTR training with a trainer. I'm definitely learning and enjoying many things about the ordeal. But, I've had literally zero problems with Freeway driving. Keeping the Truck in between lines, switching lanes, etc..etc.etc..,BUT, things did get a little testy between my trainer and I today when I got into Rush hour traffic in Cleveland.

My first time actually in big city traffic during Rush Hour. I did just fine though was a little nervous which I'm sure is natural, but the problem I had was him getting on me for driving too slow or fanning the break to keep the proper amount of space between me and the Person in front of me and to my left and right.

I'm a big time safety first person, ESPECIALLY, when it's my first time driving under them conditions with a 80,000 lb load. If I fanned the breaks or slowed down 5 mph or so below the posted speed limit, he'd get on me and tell me to boogie or to not fan the break, that I'm just fine and that he knows the Truck won't roll if I take the speed he suggested when I'm driving on a curve.

I didn't know the road at all and was going a little slower, 5 mph or so, just to give me time to react and he'd get on me about that. I did not like that at all. I mentioned to him too but he seems to be holding his ground on the matter and is convinced that I just need more time to drive at the speeds he suggested. I understand that driving too slow is hazardous too but I wasn't near that level, just 5 mph and sometimes a few mph more when I wasn't feeling comfortable.

As far as I see it, driving a little slow to get comfortable and prioritizing safety is a no-brainer, but he gets on me at times to hurry up and not to slow down when I want to. I'm doing it anyway and will continue to do so until I get more experienced. I don't see anything at all with what I'm doing but would appreciate honest feedback. I have no problem at all being wrong or adjusting if what I'm doing is that a big a deal. I'm just convinced it's not.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Jimbo's Comment
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I haven't even started school yet but reading your post I find it hard to believe your trainer gave you a hard time on any of what you mentioned. Curious to see what the exp. guys say.

Joshua C.'s Comment
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Let me clarify something, we never go over 55 mph in his Truck and he never gets on me about that since that is easy to do. It was when I was in the Rush Hour traffic and was being extra cautious and too slow for his liking. I won't lie, I'm still not happy about it and it's been over two hours. I'm about to tell him if putting my and his safety, as well as the Trucks first and number one priority is wrong, then I'm not the person for the drive. I don't trust other people driving at all for the most part. I'm anticipating any and everything when there is that many people around. I'll go as slow as I feel fit when I'm in that drivers seat in that type of traffic. I'm not happy at all about. Even Toll Roads, he wants me to downshift every number in order before I come to a complete stop and then as soon as the Toll opens the gate, he's like let's boogie, hurry up. I don't like that at all. I don't like feeling rushed when I'm new at something this dangerous.

The Dude's Comment
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It's hard to know what's going on without actually seeing how you're driving. On my 3rd day on my instructor's truck I was pretty lost on downshifting, and then I got to drive through Oklahoma City at 6 p.m. That was quite a lesson in downshifting. Is it possible you were just riding 3rd/4th/5th through fast spurts in traffic and he was wanting to see you come up to 6th/7th/8th to keep up with the flow in traffic? Is it possible you were keeping her in too high of a gear and riding the brake and dogging her out instead of finding your appropriate gear? He may just be being hard on you to try and acclimate you to shifting in city driving.

Make sure you have many conversations with him about why you're doing what you're doing. I honestly think I learned more about how to drive that truck while sitting at an Arby's in some truck stop than when I was actually driving the truck. Don't be afraid to have a long talk with him. You need to conceptualize things.

The Dude's Comment
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he wants me to downshift every number in order before I come to a complete stop and then as soon as the Toll opens the gate, he's like let's boogie, hurry up. I don't like that at all. I don't like feeling rushed when I'm new at something this dangerous.

Yeah, sounds like he's just taking some militarist teaching approach to teaching you how to shift. Making you walk down the gears on the downshift and pressuring you to pick it up fast when upshifting and being aggressive about it. Maybe politely ask him if you can focus on downshifting from 10 to 8 to 6 which would be more practical. At any rate, he's just trying to teach you, don't get mad and offended. This is an incredibly difficult thing to learn to do, have to have thick skin and a cool demeanor.

Joshua C.'s Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

he wants me to downshift every number in order before I come to a complete stop and then as soon as the Toll opens the gate, he's like let's boogie, hurry up. I don't like that at all. I don't like feeling rushed when I'm new at something this dangerous.

double-quotes-end.png

Yeah, sounds like he's just taking some militarist teaching approach to teaching you how to shift. Making you walk down the gears on the downshift and pressuring you to pick it up fast when upshifting and being aggressive about it. Maybe politely ask him if you can focus on downshifting from 10 to 8 to 6 which would be more practical. At any rate, he's just trying to teach you, don't get mad and offended. This is an incredibly difficult thing to learn to do, have to have thick skin and a cool demeanor.

I really appreciate it. I don't want to sound 'soft' or whatever, but I actually appreciated the sincere, honest, un-biased answer. I'll see if I can't do better tomorrow. It was more just going slower then what he wanted me too, being ultra safe, fanning the break at times to keep distance. We've had several talks and it's just to the point now where we are both going to hold our ground so I'm just going to make the best of it. He's without a doubt helped me in many other areas. That rubbed me wrong and I'll take the develop thicker skin advice to heart.

Thank You

Gunner's Comment
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My opinion is pretty much useless here since I'm not even in school yet but I'd definitely say to take it with a grain of salt. He could very well be testing you to see how you react, which I hear is pretty common. You are also a "guest" in his rig so I guess i just think you should consider trying it his way for a bit. I dont think his request is putting anyone in harms way. Doesnt sound like he's going overboard to me.

Again, im just some guy lying in bed watching law and order so my opinion is basically irrelevant but thats my take on it. Good luck

David's Comment
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Do what makes you feel safe.. I know its hard to keep your cool when you have someone gripping at you. But if you feel safer doing a little less on the mph then do it. 5 mph isn't much to get testy over.

As for getting through it rush hour, just take your time, relax and breath. You have 600000 things to worry about. I often make sure I have at least 2 trucks of space in front. It gets easier with time. I was just in Cleveland few days ago, traffic sucks there. I often find my self with the foot covering my brake, I try and avoid touching it as it'll wear the shoes down.

The main thing is to keep your eyes scanning and keep control of your area. Don't follow to close and if your trainer has an issue, tell him to get over it. His job should be to make sure your a safe driver, if going fast is his way of being safe, then he's not doing a good job..

Ralph G. ( Arejay )'s Comment
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When you say your fanning the breaks... do you mean that you are tapping the pedal or maintaining a steady pressure? When you said that, I got a visual that you are tapping the pedal, which I was always taught is a bad habit as that could quickly leave you in a low air-pressure situation when you really need it most.

Woody's Comment
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I haven't even started school yet but reading your post I find it hard to believe your trainer gave you a hard time on any of what you mentioned. Curious to see what the exp. guys say.

Since my odometer just clicked over for my first year I can now post as an experienced driver smile.gif

I can say the comments by his trainer does not surprise me in the least. I had what I considered an EXCELLENT trainer and received the same comments. Just watch how most truckers drive, their definition of safe driving is nothing close to mine. I will never forget a couple of my trainers comments. Both were in heavy traffic. The first I had worked myself into a perfect smith system position with plenty of room around my truck. There was a large group ahead of me and a large one behind but no one even close to me. His advice? Speed up and catch up to the pack! I ignored him.

The second we were on a three lane highway I had decent distance in front of me with a clear view in the middle lane. He tells me to move to my right so I did. Once there he pointed out the slow moving semi in the middle lane a little ways ahead and said you have to look far enough ahead to get around those guys. My reply was I would have stayed where I was because now you put me right behind this dump truck and all I can see in our lane is his tailgate.

I am 46 years old and have not had an accident or even a ticket since I was 20. One of the hardest things for me while with my trainer was having someone try to tell me how to drive. I'm not talking about how to handle the truck, or take corners, or back up. I'm talking about basic safe driving practices.

My trainer also hated the fact that I drive the speed limit. He said I was the first person he ever trained that he never had to say slow down. In fact it was always speed up. In my third and final week after I was pretty comfortable with him we were driving down 76 in PA. I passed a sign and just as I went for my turn signal he asked what the sign said. I replied trucks in left lane as I was moving over. Just a short distance later was a speed limit sign. I asked him what did that sign say and he never commented on my speed again lol.

It is one of the many things you have to figure out how to deal with when your training. its a fine line between following instruction and doing something you know is not as safe as it could be.

Woody

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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