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Old 10-09-2016, 03:20 PM   #1
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Is it the Trucks or the Time of Day?

This thread is sparked by comments made in a previous thread ("The big truck stops"). In that thread, there were comments made regarding the interstates being a "river of trucks", and much discussion regarding the driving ability of the truckers. On a recent trip of mine discussed in another thread ("Cross Country in the Shortest Time Feasible") I had a lot of opportunity to observe and "interact" with the trucks on the road ... and this thread is born of my observations made.

In the "truck stops" thread, I defended truck drivers, indicating I would rather be on the road with them with cars. I retract that statement. After several days pushing west on I40, I came to dread being on the road with those trucks. They would "tailgate" badly, drive too fast for the conditions (rain, low sun in your eyes, or strong side wind) and would also not allow you to pull over when you signaled a lane change. Especially bad were the cross wind situation: they would pass me, and all too often invade my lane - causing me to have so shift over to the shoulder. I could not believe what I was experiencing based on my previous experience.

Before you think this is a rant on my part - I have a conjecture and recommendation to make (actually based on a rest-stop discussion with a very kind and outgoing trucker). Two things I noticed - there were definitely two classes of "truck behaviors" on the road: many trucks were very well behaved - courteous, under control, and keeping appropriate speeds for conditions (these typically paced with me and did not pass me, or passed my very safely). The other "truck behavior" were the aggressive ones: not clearly under control and not staying in their lane (whether passing me or not), going too fast for conditions, etc. The point I noticed is this: the "bad truck behavior" I noticed was very clearly roughly between the hours of 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Is it the trucks or the time of day?? My conjecture is that in these hours, truckers are likely tired, and pushing to get their miles in for the day ... they are fatigued, in a hurry, and not paying the attention they would otherwise be giving their driving.

Thus the recommendation: for us as drivers, to stay clear of this behavior, try to avoid driving between those hours....

Now to that rest-stop conversation with that truck driver. I happened across him on northbound I35 in southern MN. (He was out walking his dog (cute little thing!) ... and he actually spoke to me first, explaining that his dog was recovering from surgery and he had to hold him back...). Anyway, I was so troubled by what I had seen on the road, I thought I would take the chance and ask him about it ... and ask whether I was just crazy. He listened, and said ... absolutely I was correct (and reiterated to me the tailgating and lane incursions I mentioned). He went on to say that he had several million (accident free!) miles under his belt, so he had seen the recent change. His words were that there is so much consumer demand to move freight goods by truck, that the need for drivers is great. In his words "we have rookies training rookies". (he also agreed to the likely end-of-the-day hurry to make miles). I asked him what to do?? He said: keep a very healthy following distance in front of you to give all a healthy reaction time, and maintain a strong awareness of the trucks around you ... especially the ones passing you. Do pull over and use the shoulder if needed (and if safe). He bemoaned the loss of driving capability and courtesy ... but accepted that other market pressures are forcing the change ... and that that will not change.

Anyway, not sure if this will ring true to all of you ... we might be able to help our situation a little by paying attention to the time of day we drive.

(I have a request for this thread: lets please not evolve into a "truckers are bad and we should get them off the road" kind of discussion. There are absolutely great ones out there ... and also newer greener ones we simply need to learn to work with or around. This thread is intended to ask and try to answer the question "what can we do in the face of this?"

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Old 10-09-2016, 03:32 PM   #2
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Have not observed the 'end of day' rush but will soon be on the road and will keep an eye out.

For the most part I believe that there are good drivers and not so good drivers whether it be in cars, trucks or motor homes. While truckers should be professionals, the same standards of conduct must be applied to all drivers. We all have the capability to seriously hurt or kill people with out actions when behind the wheel.

I observe an increased number of people in recent years who drive as if the world owes them the right of way.

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Old 10-09-2016, 03:43 PM   #3
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Those afternoon hours you mentioned are when drivers often must hurry to arrive at a delivery point before closing time. This may be due to traffic, ordinary check by DOT police, accident, short time allowed by trucking company, etc.
When a trucking company puts a 23 yr old behind the wheel a week after completing their CDL training, they have very little or no time with an older experienced driver to actually learn how to drive properly; can't blame a young driver for that.
Finally, the reason for a "river of trucks" on the highway is directly due to the decision of the U.S. government to greatly reduce long-haul delivery of freight by rail and abandon rail right-of-ways throughout the nation.
We, as RV drivers have only one option, drive defensively!
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:51 PM   #4
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I have noticed drivers also. You can tell what kind a person is by how they drive. Some are rude. They pass on the right, they tail-gate. Some drivers are courteous. They pass only when safe, they use their turn signals when passing, they dim their lights. These are the nice, courteous people without a chip on the shoulders. Truck drivers fall into these 2 types also.
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Old 10-09-2016, 04:01 PM   #5
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I predict that this problem will solve itself in the next five to tern years.

Autonomous vehicles are coming. With that will be the elimination of taxi and truck drivers.

Being in my mid seventies, I hope it comes before I am unable to drive.

As to many current drivers not being unsafe I think a lot of it has to do with where the new drivers are coming from. Spend a little time in a truckstop and you will see that many are foreign. They speak little English and learn only enough to get a license. So not being from our culture they just don't know any better. JMO

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Old 10-09-2016, 04:08 PM   #6
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I drove semi back in the late 70's into the mid 80's.............over the road. I have traveled all 48 state's and Canada on my Harley's over the years, traveled in my Coach since '09..........I can say I have not seen much difference in driver's, Meaning truck driver's.........there were/are 2 kinds.........courteous and safe and road maintaining driver's and those who are not. My observations are of the first kind. The change I have seen over close to 40 years, is the driver's of auto's.........especially in heavy traffic in city's...........not sure where they are going...........but WOW.
I will take a road full of trucks over those car's any day.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:22 PM   #7
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You will find the same mix of reckless and courteous truck drivers that you do with automobile drivers or RV drivers. I just try to be courteous and careful no matter what I am driving. I must admit though that it took me many years to get to that mindset. Retirement and RVing has helped me to change my mindset.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:44 PM   #8
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Put me in the 'I used to defend truck drivers- group" My Dad drove over the road, I spent a summer with him (Had a chauffeur's License" before CDL's)

Last trip, I was going North on I-85. I was at 65-68mph... An 18 wheeler passed me on the right shoulder. He overtook and began to pass at the very end of the long I-185 acceleration lane. Completed the pass on the shoulder while I was trying to get behind the car on my left.. No I didn't get his tag number...
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:31 PM   #9
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It's part of normal traffic.
Taking an alternate route works pretty good. Less stress at the cost of only several more minutes.
Don't sweat the normal
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:38 PM   #10
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Well Sir, in simplicity, what you're experiencing is, PEOPLE. People in general, have some of the most variable personalities/attributes/skills/generalities and a whole lot more. It applies to every aspect of life which, includes drivers and driving, which includes ANYTHING on the road. Some drivers, be them in trucks, cars, motorcycles, motor homes, and more, are some OUTSTANDING drivers. They have and use courtesy, common sense, common decency, and pretty much are a pleasure to be on the roads with.

But others, do not use common sense, do not have courtesy, do not like to abide by the rules of the road and more. Truck drivers do this stuff for a living. There are good/great truck drivers. There are some really bad ones too. There are good cops, bad cops, good firemen, bad firemen, good teachers, bad teachers and on and on and on.

For the most part, about 95% or more of the drivers in ALL vehicles I encounter while traveling, are pretty good and are aware of theirs and my surroundings and, are pretty courteous when it comes time for me to re-enter a lane after passing and in other situations.

One thing that is important to realize here is, there are so many folks that have NEVER, EVER even been IN a motor home, much driven one, in ANY set of driving conditions. So, when they pull in front of you/me/any RV out there, or, suddenly stop to make a turn in front of you/me/any RV driver, or do any other action that causes us to "REACT" in a critical time manner, they simply don't understand the "cause and effect" of their actions. They're in THEIR world and, that's all that counts.

So, in all reality, there is absolutely NOTHING that can be done about those types of drivers, be them in any type of vehicle. It is what it is. You can't avoid them, they're all around you. You can't take different routes because of them, they'll be there too. So, you/me and any other RV pilot out there, must simply put up with the bad, as well as be happy with the really good and courteous drivers out there.
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Old 10-09-2016, 09:28 PM   #11
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Try sitting in a otr truck for a couple of trips and then make a judgement on truckers. If you ask the truckers about RV,s you may get some colorful answers. There is good and bad in any group of drivers!
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:32 PM   #12
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Having ridden motorcycle for a large majority of my life ALL of you drivers are dangerous..................

Only reason I am still alive is due to Defensive Driving
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by slickest1 View Post
Try sitting in a otr truck for a couple of trips and then make a judgement on truckers. If you ask the truckers about RV,s you may get some colorful answers. There is good and bad in any group of drivers!

A very valid point. It raises the question of what we as a group (of RV drivers) can do to improve the situation ?
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:19 AM   #14
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I agree that that time of day is NOT the best time to be on the road, but I would not blame it all on the truck drivers. You have the 4 wheelers out there are getting off work and in such a big hurry to make it home or wherever they might be going. I have been passed by many a car just to slam on breaks to make a turn or get off the highway at the exit, all because they think they own they road and where they are going is more important.
The only bad thing about giving the extra distance is that some car will jump in front of you and come to an abrupt stop thus your extra safety zone is now gone and you have to slam on brakes also.
My fix is to attempt to be pulling into a Camp ground around that time day or just get off the highway and do some shopping for a few hours to allow the BAD drivers time to get off the road. It doesn't always work but I still try.

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