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Old 11-14-2014, 07:07 AM   #15
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Many drivers for freight companies drive 65 or less to conserve fuel. I drive about 62, meaning I get passed by semis. I do slow a bit so they can get around me and leave the left lane open for faster traffic. Independent owner - operators set their own rules and may run faster.

I believe I worry too much about traffic behind me. We all must yield to slower traffic in front of us. So maintain your speed and lane position and let the folks behind you plan their pass. I've had trucks drift over the center lane during a pass and then I evade to the right, but it is very rare this happens. I do prepare for the wake of the passing truck. It can be significant.

You have just as much right to drive on our highways as any other person. You comply with the rules. You don't need to worry about people who elect to drive faster. If they smack the rear of your trailer, they will need to buy you a new one. As mentioned before, keep right except to pass.

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Old 11-14-2014, 07:27 AM   #16
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I am still a newbie having done this for only two seasons but hauling an Airstream gives new meaning to "defensive driving". Nobody cares or understands that you have the stopping distance of the Queen Mary, that you cannot see what is tucked up behind you, and that you turn slowly and carefully. People pull out in front of me, from side roads, all of the time because they do not want to be behind that trailer.
I have learned to drive more defensively but to not care very much about what is behind me. I drive my own speed and stay planted in the center of my lane. If I do see a bunch of traffic in my side views and there is an easy pullout, like the Blue Ridge, I will use it. Otherwise they can pass when they can pass. Frankly I95 is stressful in any vehicle. I, among many, hate it. Virtually all of the rude truck driver I have ever encountered have been on I95 and I am talking about when I am in my car. Just avoid it if at all possible. I find SC, NC, and most of VA, south of DC, to be tolerable on I-95.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:38 AM   #17
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Sounds to me like you need to look at your own driving instead of the "Aggressive trucker". I haul camper all across the country and I very seldom encounter a trucker that is intentionally aggressive. The difference is he is pulling GVW 80,000 pounds and you are probably a little over 15,000. ( I don't know your TV or trailer just guessing). He has to drive alot differently than you and you perceive that as aggressive driving because he needs to maintain speed on hills so he doesn't drop to a crawl because someone is creeping along. "Crowding the left lane is not a good idea when it comes to playing with a big truck". Sounds to me like you are the aggressive driver in this scene and you will bring out the "redneck in a trucker ". Just pulling campers like I do that would tick me off if you were crowding the left lane when I went to pass. So look at your own driving before blaming the "Aggressive trucker."
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:51 AM   #18
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The psychology of a trucker and driving techniques

Protagonist, having run into this before and mainly in my personal vehicle I usually attribute it to someone on the phone when during the day. Late at night it is a drunk. Leave the driving to someone else. But by your description you ran into one who won't ever be more than about twelve years of age. Usually not found pulling a Haz-Mat load. My response that is usually slow to about 45 and even putting on the four ways. Miles, if need be

. I agree with calling home office and wouldn't hesitate to call highway patrol to report a driver under the influence. Need direction of travel, mile marker and truck description. Tractor and trailer usually are numbered especially if from a large company. Someone that close, I needn't tell you, is more dangerous than brandishing a firearm especially if Haz-Mat.

Exiting the road is the easiest solution. Also gives one a chance to get a better visual description to call in. Getting the safety dept on the blower will result in action as these guys are not only on company GPS but the Feds. You CAN give that driver a severe headache pronto by following up with the State.

I most often see this wth a driver riding a bumper when both are passing a slow mover. A cultural thing, unfortunately, that goes hand in hand with having to be "first" (attempts to prevent passing). Good to be able to recognize it may be present in order to work around it.


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Old 11-14-2014, 07:59 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
I am still a newbie having done this for only two seasons but hauling an Airstream gives new meaning to "defensive driving".
At work, I've been required to take defensive driving classes every three years, so I've taken the classes nearly a dozen times.

They never phrase it so simply as this in the training, but the essence of defensive driving is: "Never put yourself in a position where the only thing keeping you from having an accident is the other guy's ability to brake or swerve."
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:17 AM   #20
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Interesting choice of terms - "approaching me aggressively." Was he/she waving an arm out the window, flashing head lights, or using some other means of communication? The actions you describe once alongside you could be a tired or inattentive driver, possibly one on a cell phone, or one whose truck has a sloppy steering mechanism.
Approaching aggressively- speeding, following too close, never really crossing the line to pass/remaining in the lane with me, coming back over within inches of my bumper-
We ask ourselves why trucks don't have their own road system. They do. It's the interstate highway system. We can sometimes choose to go a different route, avoiding interstates.
The biggest problem I have traveling is 18 wheelers. They may not be doing anything that cars aren't doing (bad driving habits in general) but they are larger and will do more damage. I don't know why, maybe weight, but it seems they can't regulate their speed and they are impatient or try to gain every inch thinking it will make a difference in the length of their day. While we are traveling a constant 65 mph, never wavering, they barrel down the hills at 80 and climb the hills at 50, so this irritating game of leap frog ensues. He passes me. I pass him. He passes me. I pass him. He passes me. I pass him. Meanwhile my blood is boiling as I'm looking for a way away from him. Sometimes it seems like they are distracted- talking on the phone, texting, who knows what- because they weave over the line continuously, creating a scary situation.
In general, big trucks are a nuisance, but a big Thank You to the professional, safe drivers who demonstrate courtesy and safety on the road and allow space/room when passing.
Going to the Mother Ship via 71 in Kentucky to 75 was the worst trip ever. 75 and 95 have got to be the most busy roads in the country. Add to my own tension my wife being scared and reacting and making comments. I keep telling her that doesn't help my stress level. I see everything she sees. I don't need her giving a commentary/play by play of the events-
The eastern US is more densely populated- more people, more cars, and more trucks. That in itself makes it harder to drive/more stressful.
It seems that 99% of all drivers just change lanes because they can/because there's a gap, even though they aren't really gaining, but continually causing traffic to slow down by cutting too close causing a chain reaction of everyone slowing. This aggressive driving in a big truck is even more scary. It's like people just have to be ahead of you. As soon as they get in front of you, they slow down to slower than you were originally going. I just gotta change lanes. I just gotta be in front. It is a consequence of this microwave/instant gratification/always in a hurry/gotta have it now/I can't wait/impatient society we live in. Add to that most people are self centered, inconsiderate and rude- at least in their cars- meet them in church and they are the nicest people you ever want to meet. It's like the car changes people. All rules of engagement are thrown out the window and it becomes me, me, me, it's all about me. This goes all the way down to people speeding and running stop signs in residential areas- not considering whose pet or child they might kill or injure. It is so scary to approach an intersection and the car at the stop sign will not stop completely and continues to roll past the stop line. It makes my heart skip a beat every time. It is annoying when people finally do stop their bumper is 1 foot or 2 into the roadway, causing me to have to swerve out around it, or if there is a car beside me I have to stop/wait to avoid a collision.
Why do people get so irritated at me for going the speed limit or below? Why don't they realize I am perfectly within my rights to do so? They act as if by obeying the laws and being safe I am imposing upon their rights to break the law and be dangerous and they are very angry about it.
If I am traveling on the highway and a car is coming up the ramp, it is not my responsibility to yield to the car on the ramp, but his responsibility to yield to me. If I can move over and let him in, I will. If someone is beside me, and I can't move over, it becomes that driver's responsibility to a) speed up and merge in ahead of me or b) slow down and merge in behind me.
The thing that prevents this from happening is people speeding and tailgating. They don't leave enough room between cars to move over/change lanes. Why do they think it is OK to go 70 eight feet apart? Has it never occurred to them what will happen if one car messes up? I think that people just don't think-
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:28 AM   #21
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Everyone wants to blame drivers on cell phone as the first thing that is wrong. Truth is if you are a commercial driver and you are caught on the cell phone without a hands free device being used it is an automatic $2500.00 fine plus points on you CDL. Notice when you go in to a truck stop you will see guys with hands free headsets on. I personally think this should be law in all 50 states and not apply to only commercial drivers. M.honey the leapfrogging you are referring to is because they are 80,000 GVW. They have to speed down hill in order to sometimes maintain 50 mph going up hill. They are simply getting a run and go at the next hill. And yes it will make a difference not so much in their day but in their week. When you have to travel 2500 in less than 5 days and you can only work so many hours in a day it does make a HUGE DIFFERENCE.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:47 AM   #22
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For the most, truck drivers I've encountered have been courteous and helpful, frequently changing lanes to allow us to join the highway. I repay that courtesy by flashing them when it's ok for them to pull back in in front of us.

So far, so good. Having said that, I recently had to tow the Airstream to London on a heavy traffic day and rather than subjecting myself to stress I decided to avoid the highway altogether and went cross country instead. Added perhaps 30 minutes - instead of 60 I was doing 50 - to the trip, but these were an enjoyable thirty minutes driving on deserted roads on a beautiful fall day. I even stopped for a while on a layby, just to enjoy the scenery for a while and make a coffee. Useful to have your house with you.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:22 AM   #23
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From a 2002 thread, One Angry Trucker



A blonde had just gotten a new sports car and was out for a drive when
she cut off a truck driver. He motioned for her to pull over. When she
did, he got out of his truck and pulled a piece of chalk from his
pocket. He drew a circle on the road and told the blonde to stand in the
circle and not move.

He then went to her car and cut up her leather seats.

When he turned around she had a slight grin on her face, so he said,
"Oh, you think that's funny? Watch this..."

He gets a baseball bat out of his truck and breaks every window in her
car. When he turns and looks at her she has a smile on her face. This
makes him even angrier.

He gets his knife back out and slashes all of her tires.

Now she's laughing.

The truck driver is really starting to lose it. He goes back to his
truck and gets a can of gas, pours it on her car and sets it on fire. He
turns around and she is laughing so hard she is about to fall down.

"What's so funny?" the truck driver yelled to the blonde.

She replied, "If you promise not to hurt me I will tell."

The truck driver nodded and the blonde giggled, then she said, "When you
weren't looking, I stepped outside the circle 4 times!"
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:29 AM   #24
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Sounds to me like you need to look at your own driving instead of the "Aggressive trucker". I haul camper all across the country and I very seldom encounter a trucker that is intentionally aggressive. The difference is he is pulling GVW 80,000 pounds and you are probably a little over 15,000. ( I don't know your TV or trailer just guessing). He has to drive alot differently than you and you perceive that as aggressive driving because he needs to maintain speed on hills so he doesn't drop to a crawl because someone is creeping along. "Crowding the left lane is not a good idea when it comes to playing with a big truck". Sounds to me like you are the aggressive driver in this scene and you will bring out the "redneck in a trucker ". Just pulling campers like I do that would tick me off if you were crowding the left lane when I went to pass. So look at your own driving before blaming the "Aggressive trucker."
No Sir. You must have misunderstood the post. If you re-read it carefully you will understand what I meant.

I traveled in the right lane 99.9% of the trip. What I found while traveling in that right lane was interesting. While moving down the road at 60-65 in that right lane, I could track down dead center, slightly left of the line, or slightly right of the line. I did not enter the left lane at any point during the 1200 mile tow.

If I was in the middle, or the right of the right hand lane the trucks would have the option to use that space that I opened up to them. If I stayed left, but still clear of the line, they would pass me with room & what I perceived to be a safe buffer. It's a subtle observation, but there's no doubt that the trucks were paying attention to my position in the lane as they overtook me.

I do not drive aggressively, but I do drive as if everyone is a threat and constantly looking for a "what if" plan if something gets dangerous.

I saw something similar to what Protagonist experienced, but not as intense or sustained. I was in the right lane, a car was in the middle lane and other cars and trucks were passing in the left lane. The truck barreled down on the car left of me and rode his bumper for about a minute. He had room to pass on the left. It was scary and I was terrified for the driver. I should have called that truck in, but I did not. If I see it again, I will.

It was another weird observation, but the UPS trucks were polite and seemed to be predictable. Maybe they screen their drivers a little more carefully.

It is possible that lane position (within the right lane) with intent to manipulate traffic behind me is aggressive. But it seemed to make a difference in how I was passed by the semis, which was more pleasant for me behind the wheel. Again, just an observation, not endorsing the style or strategy -- merely looking for advice on how to handle myself safely on the road.

All the comments in the thread so far have been mostly wise -- info that I was looking for.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:40 AM   #25
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The psychology of a trucker and driving techniques

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No Sir. You must have misunderstood the post. If you re-read it carefully you will understand what I meant.

I traveled in the right lane 99.9% of the trip. What I found while traveling in that right lane was interesting. While moving down the road at 60-65 in that right lane, I could track down dead center, slightly left of the line, or slightly right of the line. I did not enter the left lane at any point during the 1200 mile tow.

If I was in the middle, or the right of the right hand lane the trucks would have the option to use that space that I opened up to them. If I stayed left, but still clear of the line, they would pass me with room & what I perceived to be a safe buffer. It's a subtle observation, but there's no doubt that the trucks were paying attention to my position in the lane as they overtook me.

I do not drive aggressively, but I do drive as if everyone is a threat and constantly looking for a "what if" plan if something gets dangerous.

I saw something similar to what Protagonist experienced, but not as intense or sustained. I was in the right lane, a car was in the middle lane and other cars and trucks were passing in the left lane. The truck barreled down on the car left of me and rode his bumper for about a minute. He had room to pass on the left. It was scary and I was terrified for the driver. I should have called that truck in, but I did not. If I see it again, I will.

It was another weird observation, but the UPS trucks were polite and seemed to be predictable. Maybe they screen their drivers a little more carefully.

It is possible that lane position (within the right lane) with intent to manipulate traffic behind me is aggressive. But it seemed to make a difference in how I was passed by the semis, which was more pleasant for me behind the wheel. Again, just an observation, not endorsing the style or strategy -- merely looking for advice on how to handle myself safely on the road.

All the comments in the thread so far have been mostly wise -- info that I was looking for.

This is correct the left lane idiots become unconscious in short order and maintain a predetermined distance towards those they are passing. This can often be spotted in the mirrors. I also move to the left of the lane and sometimes just over. Keeps them where they should be as I then move back to the right of my lane. I don't advocate making driving intoore work than it already is but I also drive 4000-miles/week nearly year-round. Ones life and livelihood can depend on these observations and actions. The worst offenders Re the box vans. Lengths should never have been allowed to increase from 48 to 53 feet for any trailer, but this is America and greed is king. Even. Good driver can lose track of what the rear tandems are doing and any wind aggravates this. Look for it as they are coming up on you.


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Old 11-14-2014, 09:50 AM   #26
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As a general rule, I do not move closer to the left side of my lane when someone is passing me. It might make them hold farther to the left or it might not, but in any event, moving closer to someone who is passing me is exactly what I don't want to do! All it takes is one wind gust, a swerve to avoid some sort of debris in his lane (or yours!) and that three or four feet of clearance between your vehicles could disappear in a hurry!

By the same token, edging closer to someone I'm passing is also a bad idea. Golden Rule applies: "Do unto other drivers as you'd have other drivers do unto you."
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:53 AM   #27
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Once you have more tow time under your belt, I think you will get used to the trucks passing. I'll bet those drivers were not trying to be aggressive intentionally, they just want to get their load down the road as fast as possible. I still remember the first real push to the side I got from a semi with my first 30' Airstream. My rear end about bit a hole in the seat ;-)
When I'm towing in the right lane, my defense to those fast approaching semi trucks is to stay near the left painted line until just before they get to the rear of the trailer. Then I slowly move toward right, staying in the same lane, before they actually get to me. The more distance there is between the two vehicles, the less the fast vehicle's bow wave affects the slow one.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:54 AM   #28
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The psychology of a trucker and driving techniques

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As a general rule, I do not move closer to the left side of my lane when someone is passing me. It might make them hold farther to the left or it might not, but in any event, moving closer to someone who is passing me is exactly what I don't want to do! All it takes is one wind gust, a swerve to avoid some sort of debris in his lane (or yours!) and that three or four feet of clearance between your vehicles could disappear in a hurry!

By the same token, edging closer to someone I'm passing is also a bad idea. Golden Rule applies: "Do unto other drivers as you'd have other drivers do unto you."

You don't do it when they are near but before they have entered the pass zone and are still in overtake. You do it for precisely the reasons you've given


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