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Front Page » March 4, 2014 » Opinion » Give truckers a chance
Published 231 days ago

Give truckers a chance


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

On Saturday I was driving around Washington county for a couple of hours during a break in a conference I was attending there. My wife and I were following a tractor trailer rig that was going pretty slow, I think largely because he wasn't sure which way to go. There was no room on the road for him to pull over and stop so he just had to keep going.

We came up to a stop sign and he started to signal to go right. He needed to stay in the center lane to make his turn because his rig was too long to go into the right lane to turn or he would have gone over the curb. Other cars were pulling up at the four way stop from the direction he needed to turn, but they were in the way so he was letting them go until the center lane in that direction was clear too. I lined up my truck behind him realizing what he was going to do. Behind me were two or three cars, with one in particular on my rear bumper the whole way down the street to the stop sign. I could see the driver waving his arms around like he was ticked off that the truck driver was slowing him down.

Just as the trucker got a clear shot at the turn, he pulled around me and up along my right side and started to try and go around the corner as the trucker was turning. I honked at him but he kept going for a short distance until the back of the trailer darn near took the front of his Hyundai off. It missed, but at the time I wished it hadn't. When the trucker cleared the corner the guy zoomed up and pulled right behind the truck as fast as he could as they came to another corner which the truck was turning left at.

The car, with Nevada plates and a license plate holder that proclaimed he was from Henderson then almost ran into the side of the truck as the trucker tried to pull as quickly as he could into the right lane on the left hand turn he was making.

As we went onto a four lane road a guy behind me in a Ford F-150 pulled up along side me at the next light, looked at me and pointed at the Hyndai and shook his head. I nodded and he laughed. I saw him mouth "Las Vegas driver to me" and I smiled.

But this column isn't about the kind of car someone was driving or where they are from. It isn't about good drivers or bad drivers. We all have been both at times. It is instead about courtesy.

The Nevada driver knew the trucker was turning right at the first intersection; he couldn't have missed it. All the signal lights were working. He was like so many people in that he thought the road forward was more important to him than to anyone else.

Everyone likes to complain about truck drivers. But I was one once and what the non-professional drivers on the road do sometimes makes you crazy. In my days in that business some came very close to getting clobbered by my truck and who knows what would have happened. So many people don't understand the power and the weight of a large truck. They don't understand that the person driving it can't stop as fast, often can't see the smaller vehicle if it is in the wrong spot along side the larger vehicle and that big trucks. Whether they be bobtails or tractor trailer rigs just don't have the capability of fitting in the same spaces as a car or pickup truck.

I have heard people say anyone can drive a truck. Well, that probably is true, but not everyone can operate it safely or correctly.

We are always seeing those signs about construction workers on the highways concerning giving those laboring there a "brake."

Well everyone should also do the same with truck drivers. They have a tough job, especially when they are in heavy traffic or driving in poor conditions. Be courteous and be patient.

Most of all put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would want other drivers to treat you on the road if you were the one driving that big rig.

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