We Are Not Alone on the Road

As the season for family vacations rapidly approaches, the traffic increases and the roadways become congested as tourists hit the highways in droves to make it to their destination. While this is great news for the tourism industry, and for the gas stations along the most traveled vacation routes, there are people out there that aren’t exactly pumped to be sharing the road with your minivans and crossovers; truck drivers.

Let’s face it, we don’t all pay that much attention to the trucks on the roads in terms of recognizing that they’ve got a job to accomplish. We simply see them as threatening or bothersome facets of our trips out of town. However, the people behind the wheels of these trucks are necessarily trying to bear down on us in the fast lane, or swipe over into our lane when we’re clearly traveling there. There are ways to effectively share the road with truck drivers that will take away part of the burden of our added company for them, and keep us safe from the harm eighteen wheels on one vehicle can cause us.

We’ve all had the experience of being boxed in on the open highway by trucks, or laying down on the horn as a huge semi-truck comes over into the lane we’re occupying. Of course, sharing the road with these massive vehicles inspires a feeling of dread for most drivers, we need to look at it from the other side as well. They’re not excited to be sharing the road with us either, especially when our vacation taking is leading to a mass exodus of cars on the road and mounting traffic concerns. Most truck drivers have a deadline, and as annoyed as we are with the traffic, they’re even more so. So how do we share the road, equally?

  1. Be Aware – Awareness of our surroundings is the one thing that drivers today can’t seem to master. We’re too concerned with what’s going on inside our car; the kids are fighting, our jam just came on the radio, or the navigation system is re-routing, to pay close attention to the people with whom we’re sharing the road. If you’re not paying attention and you’re weaving through traffic, be careful who you cut off. An eighteen wheeler doesn’t have the same stopping power you do, and a collision is pretty sure to ruin both of your days.
  2. Don’t Tailgate – If you’re busy switching songs on your phone, or you’re reprimanding little Junior in the backseat and you turn to find yourself quickly creeping up the tailpipe of a tractor trailer, back off. If you’re right on them like that, they can’t see you. If a truck has to stop short, you’re not going to have the reaction time and rear ending a semi isn’t going to be the same as a fender bender with another Honda. Tailgating is dangerous is any situation, but more so with a truck. Back off, and give them their space.
  3. Stay Out of the Blind Spots – Did you ever see that handy sign on the back of a truck that says if you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you? Well, they have that because trucks have a lot of blind spots, and as a driver it is going to behoove you to stay out of them. If you’ve ever had a truck almost come over on you in your lane, it’s most likely because you’re in one of their blind spots. Pay close attention to where your car is sitting, and clear the blind spots.
  4. Don’t Race Them – If you and a truck are sharing a merge ramp, don’t be the jerk that races them to get on the highway. They’re bigger, they’re heavier, and they’re traveling faster than you are. It may seem like they’re taking forever, but there is a reason for that. A fully loaded trailer adds a lot of excess weight, and it takes a fair amount of time to reach their desired speed. Speeding out around them isn’t the safest way for you to travel, and it’s also dangerous to the truck driver, because now he has to account for your whereabouts. Wait it out, those extra three minutes aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things.
  5. Don’t Cut Them Off – Once again, a truck can’t stop on a dime like your SUV can, as there is an intricate braking system, and much more weight than you’ve got. When you think you’re being slick in traffic by cutting off a semi, just know that you’re risking your life. Should you have to stop in a hurry, and there isn’t enough space, that truck isn’t going to be able to miss your vehicle. I’m thinking rear-ended by a tractor trailer isn’t how you want to start your vacation, so leave enough room when switching lanes.

Sure, sharing the road is a bother, and it would be ideal if we each had our own personal highway to and from our most beloved destinations, but the world isn’t perfect and traffic happens. With an increasing amount of people on the road taking vacations and traveling to distant lands, there is always an increased number of accidents, as well. Avoid the trouble by using your head and safely sharing the road with the other drivers.

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