Educating the Public Driving Tips: Traveling with Tractor Trailers


In my last post about driving tips, I gave you five tips that if you follow could save your life. We talked about what not to do such as: pulling out in front of tractor-trailers; don’t dead stop in front of tractor-trailers; don’t pass on the right-side ever of tractor-trailers; don’t drive in the NO ZONES; pay attention at all times while around tractor-trailers.

This post will mostly deal with “traveling with tractor-trailers” in general, on two lane roads and on interstates. The thing I see mostly about 4wheelers when traveling in and around tractor-trailers is the fact that the 4wheeler drivers are so-impatient and drive aggressively. They tend to act like they are late for work or getting married or something – they just drive irresponsibly and end up getting into situations/accidents that could easily be avoided.

We have already talked about the effects that could happen when following too close to a tractor-trailer. One thing I did not mention in my other post was following to close to a tractor-trailer limits your field of view. If you get too close you can even lose site of the road. Tractor-trailers straddle items in the road, once the tractor rolls over the item, then the trailer will usually cause the item to move or the trailer picks the item up.

This causes the item to “fly-out” from under the trailer and usually right into the vehicle behind the tractor-trailer. If you are following to close then you won’t see the item and you will hit it, causing damage to your car, or causing you to have an accident. Plus following too close doesn’t give you enough room to stop in case the tractor-trailer has to make a quick stop. A good rule of thumb to ensure that you’ve left yourself enough room is to look for the truck’s side mirrors. If you can see them then you are in a good place.

The thing about driving with tractor-trailers on a two-lane road is most of the time there is no-where to safely pass. So 4wheeler drivers need to be more patient when driving on two-lane roads. A loaded tractor-trailer weighing up-to 80,000 lbs. takes a long time to stop – at 55 mph almost 400 feet. It also takes a long time for the same truck to get up to speed, this is usually when the impatient 4wheeler driver will do “stupid” driving maneuvers, passing with oncoming traffic, passing on the right shoulder, Making improper and unsafe lane changes, Screaming, honking, and flashing their lights, Changing lanes frequently and abruptly without notice (signals), aggressive drivers have no concern for fellow motorists. For many motorists, sharing the road with trucks is difficult. However, research shows that most fatal crashes involving large trucks are caused by the car, not the commercial vehicle.

Next up I want talk a little bit about driving on the interstates. I have seen some remarkably stupid driving on the interstates by 4wheelers. First I want to explain what different things are on the interstates.

  • exit ramps: or deceleration ramps leading off the interstate. This is what the lane is for is to decelerate/or slow down – not the slow lane on the interstate.
  • on ramps: or acceleration ramps leading onto the interstate. This is used to get up to speed with the flow of traffic.
  • In the above image I have detailed where you should either speed up or slow down. Of course this depends on traffic and conditions. Now, also some exit and on ramps have no “merge area” which means the acceleration or deceleration lane is very short – normally all traffic will come to a slow down. This may also apply to rest-areas, and emergency pull-offs.

    And to end today’s post with talking about construction areas. The construction workers put those signs out miles before they do the work for a reason.

    If you see the sign that tells you the lane you are in will end get out of that lane – simple, right? Obviously it is not that simple because I still see “ignorant” drivers stay in that lane until it completely quits – this is why traffic comes to a halt before construction zones.

    Generally you will see two tractor-trailers get side by side in situations like this. This is a crude for of traffic control and generally when done right traffic continues to roll. But a lot of states now say this is against the law – and will write tickets for this.

    The main things to do when traveling the interstates or two lane highways with tractor-trailers is to pay attention and go with the flow of traffic, don’t follow to close and be courteous. Be safe and arrive on time – in one piece.

    © 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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I'm just a EX-truck driver, trying to pass along a little information. I been in the Trucking Industry as a driver for over 15 years. I have driven both as an owner operator and as a company driver. I have also been a driver instructor for an accredited truck driving school in KY. I am no longer a truck driver, but I consider myself to be a watchdog for the trucking industry. In fact this site is the #1 site for getting the real news about trucking. We don't hold back here, you will hear the full story. Twitter | |Truck Drivers News Facebook
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