The collective of truckers it does not usually receive the attention it deserves in the media. They are responsible for ensuring that our stores are full of goods, and our supermarkets full of food. They share the road network with us, and are often described by motorists as a necessary nuisance – they necessarily take up more space and are forced to move more slowly. Perhaps we should bear in mind that the truck is the working environment of thousands and thousands of people, who suffer the uncivil behavior of many drivers on a daily basis. These attitudes not only despair, put them in danger and make them lose money.
1) Hurried additions of other vehicles
Who has not this happened? You are driving along a road and when you join the road, a car sneaks in front of our vehicle at a much lower speed, when it should have given way. It usually happens with clueless drivers, or drivers who do not adequately calculate the difference in speed between our vehicle and theirs. If we go by car, this situation usually ends with a braking and an expletive. Brake a loaded truck, weighing up to 60 tons and 25.25 meters in length – in the case of road trains – it is not so simple or safe.
Truckers spend many more hours behind the wheel than the average driver, suffering more often from clueless, aggressive and incompetent drivers.
The braking distance of trucks is much greater than that of a car, with an inertia to overcome orders of magnitude higher. The truck load can even shift, creating a clearly dangerous situation for all road users – imagine the disaster that can occur if a 40-ton trailer loses control. In some cases, the truck may not be able to brake in time, and end up hitting the car that has joined at the last moment. You don’t have to be a physicist or an automotive expert to guess the disastrous outcome of such an accident.
2) Cars parked in the second row in urban centers
“It’s only five minutes,” you say, as you rush to pick up a package at the Post Office or make a last minute purchase. Although cars and vans can circulate through the gap you have left, the same does not happen with buses or large trucks – whose maximum width is 2.55 meters and they maneuver with much more difficulty. You don’t have to imagine the chaos it can cause a truck blocking a busy street in an urban center. The problem is not just chaos: you will be wasting time and money for a lot of people – especially the trucker. What if the truck you’re blocking was a fire truck?
Parking incorrectly in the second row not only carries a fine, it will waste time and money for other road users. Be civic, leave the car in the parking lot.
3) Do not use turn signals in roundabouts
The acceleration of a loaded trailer is very modest. At roundabouts, trucks often struggle to merge, especially if the area’s traffic is heavy. Not using the turn signals in roundabouts is also punishable, a selfish and disrespectful attitude towards other drivers. If we do not signal our maneuver, the truck loses the ability to anticipate traffic, and loses its limited margin of incorporation. Not only do you waste time, you lose money and cause withholdings. All for not moving our left finger and operating that lever located next to the steering wheel.
There is another even more problematic situation, and it is when a truck brakes to join a roundabout, through which another vehicle circulates. If said vehicle does not signal its intention to leave the roundabout, the truck is forced to brake – even come to a complete stop – assuming you will keep going around the roundabout. If the vehicle had signaled its intention to leave the roundabout, the truck’s gigantic diesel engine would not have had to inject hundreds of milliliters of diesel, just to get it going again. Let’s be respectful with trucks, and with the – in many cases – autonomous who drives them.
The fuel consumption of a truck is astronomical if it circulates with constant starts and stops. Instantaneous can exceed 150 l / 100 km.
4) Overtaking to the limit, and not only when the double lane ends
It is a situation that occurs almost exclusively on secondary or national roads. When a slow lane opens, the truck veers to the right, letting other vehicles pass. The problem comes when the lane ends, and all the cars want to overtake the truck, giving overtaking as fast as a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Overtakings that endanger vehicles traveling in the opposite lane, forcing the trucker to brake or invade the shoulder, trying to avoid an accident. If it is a grotesque image as a spectator, imagine as the protagonist.
Trucks are passed dozens of times a day, for obvious reasons: they move more slowly than other road traffic. On secondary roads, all drivers seem to become real drivers, overtaking trucks in sections without visibility, or miscalculating the distance of the truck. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain how dangerous a failed overtaking can be for everyone involved. In many cases, it will be the trucker himself who gives us the way, activating the right turn signal. If you’re not sure about overtaking, don’t do it.
On secondary roads, many truckers will tell us when it is safe to pass them, by activating their right turn signal. It is a common gesture of courtesy.
5) Do not keep a safe distance and invade your dead spots
Trucks are much longer and wider than any car, and visibility from their cab is much less. Although some have many electronic driving aids and active safety features – such as a vehicle in neutral detector – not all trucks on the road are state-of-the-art. If we stick to half a meter from its rear bumper, neither the most modern truck, nor the most attentive trucker will be able to see us. Truck dead spots are large, especially near the cabin – due to the difference in height – and at the rear. Avoid their dead spots, and maintain an adequate safety distance.