Sharing the Road with Truckers
This week is National Truck Driver Appreciation week. So have you thanked a truck driver this week?
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is held annually to recognize and celebrate the people most responsible for delivering America’s most essential goods.
My husband Gary is a commercial driver. He retired from the US Military after 21 years and we quickly discovered that retirement income was not going to support a family of nine. He went to work for one of the carriers unloading trailers on the dock. During that first year, he taught himself to drive and when he passed his exams he was hired on as a driver.
Gary received his first Million Mile award several years ago for having, yes over a million miles of driving without any infractions. I wonder how many of us can make that claim?
I’ve shared before about the difficulties families face in this industry. Between being gone a lot, to the dangers of driving; this career path is tough on marriages. I love it when my husband is passing through town and will call me to meet him just for a cup of coffee or sometimes just a hug. This particular time was early in the morning, like 4am and I was leaving town for several days. Gary called me and asked me to meet him. He didn’t want another week to go by not seeing me. That’s sweet! It also speaks to the amount of effort it takes to maintain strong relationships.
“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an opportunity for America to show our gratitude to the core of the economy, our professional truck drivers, and to set aside this week for them as they have earned it through their hard work and commitment to the industry,” said ATA Chairman Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc. “This year’s logo captures the movement of truck drivers throughout the week by portraying an open road winding through 2017 and into the future.”
“Our truck drivers work safely and efficiently to deliver America’s goods and deserve this recognition all year round. We set aside this week to pay special tribute to their continued work and excellence for America,” said ATA COO and Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna. “We encourage you to visit the official NTDAW website, which has a variety of tools to spread the word about NTDAW such as suggested events, sample op-eds and press releases to generate local appreciation of drivers, and sample state proclamations to make NTDAW a recognized week in each state.”
For more information on this week and the giveaway being promoted during for awareness, visit our post on Southern Recipe.
So how can we as “4-wheelers” help keep both the truckers and ourselves safe? By sharing the road!
What I mean is thinking for a minute about the man or woman behind the wheel of that massive vehicle.
Have you ever thought how much distance it takes to stop? Consider that the next time you cut one off or pull out in front on them.
Consider the blind spots on your vehicle for a minute. I know the blind spots on my vehicle can hide another vehicle completely! A rule to remember is if you can’t see the drivers mirrors, they CAN NOT see you! So allow for additional clearance when passing (I always wait until I can see BOTH of their headlights in my rear view mirror before moving in front of them).
Another way to share the road is to move to the left when trucks are trying to get on the highway. It takes a lot of distance for them to get up to speed and make the merge into traffic. Knowing you have changed lanes to allow them room to merge goes a long way in both their and your safety.
I took a survey of drivers at the truck stop near our home. Here were their tips on sharing the road.
1. Turn on your headlights – even in the day time. If the car is moving, lights on. Daytime running lights are often lower on your vehicle and the drivers can’t see them. Depending on the color of your vehicle, you can blend into the pavement or background.
2. Signal your intentions – well before making the move. Turn on your blinker well before you start changing lanes or applying the break. A fully loaded truck does not stop on a dime. Your personal vehicle take 1 car length per 10 miles of speed to stop….and you are dropping anchor in front of a 75,000 pound – 70-80 foot long vehicle!
3. Allow space for sudden moves. Again this goes to how much longer it takes for a truck to stop or change lanes quickly. It also speaks to how large an area around the truck that is hidden. If you can’t see the mirrors on the truck cab, the driver can not see you at all.
At the end of the day, we all want to get home safely. Let’s start by allowing more room and respecting the challenges of both 4-wheelers and truckers.