I have killed so many hours over the last six months, reading through most of the “Ask the person who…” threads that Idle Thoughts (through the kindness of his/her heart) took the time to compile here, and there’s a new one that just now jumped out at me.
Are there any truck- / diesel- / 18-wheeler drivers out there? (I’m picturing Jerry Reed, hauling 400 cases of Coors-beer across the Southeast, while trying to keep up with a black Trans-am).
If so, do you have any good stories to tell?
I figure everyone (myself included) has had occasion to sigh and complain when we get stuck behind one of you guys, when we’re driving down the freeway, but can I ask -
Would you trade it for being a regular “sit-behind-a-keyboard-in-an-office” desk-jockey?
Do you ever have problems with people not wanting to let you over, when there’s an exit 3/4-mile ahead, that you need to make?
Is falling asleep while you’re on the road a problem?
Are CB-radios even used anymore (again, tipping my hat to the ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ movies)
Do you ever feel ‘road rage’, when someone cuts you off, and you can’t accelerate fast enough to “get back at them” like you might in your own car?
Do you go ahead and honk the horn, when you see 7-yr-olds stick their arm out of their parents’ back-door window and do the up-and-down-motion?
Thanks for any insight - if this thread catches legs, it’ll likely be the highlight of my weekend
It’s an older thread, so you probably shouldn’t be posting new questions in it, but LucyinDisguise covered some of this in Hey! I’m workin’ here!. It’s a Pit Thread, not an “Ask the . . .” so be forewarned.
I’m local delivery, but my area is about 60 miles of divided highway away from my warehouse. Not long haul, but not strictly city, either.
I can’t see myself ever working at a desk. Which kinda sucks, because I’m not getting any younger and jumping out of a cab 20 times a day is rough on knees.
Generally speaking, about half the people on the highway will either not let you over or specifically speed up to block you from getting in front of them. Every day I have an exit I have to hit about 1/2 mile after an interchange so I need to dive over 3 lanes pretty quick. I keep an eye on ramp traffic and pace a hole. It generally pays dividends not to signal until the last second as it seems to make people think “not in front of me!” and they speed up so they can match your speed and ride alongside you. Sometimes when someone doesn’t have any sense or common courtesy you have to appeal to their self preservation instincts and just start moving over. You don’t want to be that guy!
I don’t drive long enough or late enough to really fall asleep. I start around 5am and get wired on caffeine and once I start making deliveries the physical aspect of the job keeps me awake.
I don’t have a CB but people do still use them. Mostly I don’t want any distractions when I’m driving so I go out of my way to silence my cell phone and hide anything with a screen.
Road rage is really bad when you’re in something really big and heavy with giant blind spots that doesn’t necessarily stop all that well. If I’m having a shitty day and I feel rage building up I ground myself and go to the right lane and drive slow enough that I don’t have to really bother with any other cars as they fly past. It costs a little time, but killing someone (or even just trading a little paint) costs a lot more.
You’ve got to honk for the little ones! Not many kids seem to do that, but if you see one you can be pretty sure it’s going to make their day!
I did drive a “local” route delivery truck for a couple years covering a bit more than 100 miles radius from my home base. 40ft box truck, so I didn’t get the full 18 wheeler experience. My brother, OTOH, drove OTR all over the lower 48. We compared notes and my experiences were not so different.
I was exiting off a highway, one of those cloverleaf exits, when I put my foot on the brake pedal and it kept going down, and down, and down to the floor. Downshift furiously and let engine braking do the rest. Emergency brake brought it to stop. I think all the wheels stayed in contact with the pavement the whole time but not sure.
The company leased all their trucks from Ryder and they had 3 depots along my rather short route. Call out the roadside mechanic. Sit and wait 45 minutes until he arrives. He checks everything over and declares it safe to drive to the depot about 20 miles away.
Driving, carefully, and everything seems to be ok. Stopping fine at traffic lights. Get to the depot and the brake pedal feels a little spongy. Another maintenance check. Cleared to continue.
A few stops later and I’m pulling into the next major city on the route. Another cloverleaf exit. Foot to the floor again. Downshift. Emergency brake. Stop. I am less than 1 mile from the depot so I limp the truck over there in low gear. Different mechanic checks it out and finds a failed master brake cylinder. Oops. Not sure who cursed more, the mechanic or me. They swapped me out for a loaner truck.
Brother’s big story was when his partner rolled their truck onto its side going down the Rockies in eastern WA state about 3 days before Christmas. Fun!
I did, in stages. Went from that to a different outdoor job to my current desk job. Brother loved it until he was no longer medically able to do it. He considered himself a paid tourist, out to see the country.
Not too bad for me. My truck was “little”. But I did see such stuff.
Not for me. As a local route driver I was home every night. Brother’s partner fell asleep and that is why their truck rolled. So… Yeah. Could be a problem!
It was in some of my trucks but not all. Helpful for figuring out detours when the traffic backs up and such. Truckers coming the other way could let you know where an accident was and such. My brother definitely used his quite a bit. Every rig he drove had one.
No point. My trucks were governed down. There was some frustration when I would get stuck in the right lane behind someone going like 45 and all the traffic in the left lane was just moving way too fast for me to slide over. Where I drove had a lot of rolling hills and I would try to time it so I was going downhill when I moved over to the passing lane. Gravity definitely helped accelerate,.
My truck didn’t have an air horn so it just wouldn’t have the same effect. Brother’s truck did. He didn’t honk his horn. Rarely saw it myself.
It’s been about 30 years, but I remember my family moving from Chicago to Idaho, with my mom driving our van and my dad driving the moving truck. My mom didn’t like to drive at ALL, so this was a big, big thing for her. My dad got us CBs, my mom’s handle became “Idaho Rose”, and we had truckers helping us ALL THE WAY. They were SO very awesome, it was a great experience. So great, in fact, that later on, when I needed to hitchhike here and there, I swore I’d only hitchhike with truckers. The times I didn’t stick to that were weird, indeed, but I always felt safe around the truckers.
Here’s a question- everyone’s seen the “No Zones” signs on semis that show where truck drivers don’t want car drivers to be. I try to stay out of their “No Zones”, so why don’t truckers stay out of mine and tailgate me instead?
Also, what’s up with the new 10 wheelers with the wide tires?
In heavy urban traffic I noticed that if I opened up a reasonable distance between my truck and the next vehicle in front of me then it was like an invitation for another car to change lanes to take the spot. So I back off that car, open up space and…
On my route I drove the same section of interstate every day. Lots of low rolling hills. As I rolled down a hill the greater momentum of my heavy truck would close the gap if a car was in front. As we went up the next hill my truck would back off.
Since my truck was governed to a bit below the posted speed limit I tended to drive interstate with my foot to the floor. I topped out at about 68 and the limit was 70 in that area. But the truck couldn’t maintain 68 going up a hill… would drop to maybe 63.