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Old 11-14-2014, 10:02 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
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.

Exactly, you just explained it more eloquently.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:47 AM   #30
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As an operator of a tv/trailer you should now have an appreciation for what it is like to drive a multi-ton vehicle down the interstate. Try to see the road from the trucker's perspective. Allow lots of distance for emergency stopping, and never cut a truck or a car off just because you can. Try to anticipate their moves and allow room for their maneuvers. Show them you care about everybody's safety. Flash your lights to let them know is OK to move over in front of you when they're passing. It maybe trivial, but the courtesy you show them may be returned down the road. On long trips, I often encounter the same operator multiple times.

The ones to watch out for as the road weary, bleary eyed ones... There are far too many rear end accidents by truckers who fall asleep at the wheel these days. If you have to come to a stop on the interstate, put on your flashers and do whatever it takes to be visible to them.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:47 AM   #31
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After a quick read through this thread, and I stopped reading a couple of posts without reading them through, I have come to realize some people seem to have no concept of the laws of physics. Specifically, the parts about gravity and its effects on moving objects as they go up and down hills.
Does anybody seriously expect an 80,000 pound truck to be able to maintain a steady 65mph, uphill and down, no matter what? If a loaded truck starts at the bottom of any kind of hill at 65, he will probably be lucky to be doing 25 by the time he gets to the top. Inertia is a trucks friend, and gravity is its enemy.
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:17 PM   #32
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After a quick read through this thread, and I stopped reading a couple of posts without reading them through, I have come to realize some people seem to have no concept of the laws of physics. Specifically, the parts about gravity and its effects on moving objects as they go up and down hills.
Does anybody seriously expect an 80,000 pound truck to be able to maintain a steady 65mph, uphill and down, no matter what? If a loaded truck starts at the bottom of any kind of hill at 65, he will probably be lucky to be doing 25 by the time he gets to the top. Inertia is a trucks friend, and gravity is its enemy.

I-95 is flat, I should have mentioned that!
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:23 PM   #33
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Man As a gearhead I guess I take a lot of acquired skill for granted when driving as I don't find the truckers as difficult to deal with as the other smaller vehicles. Trucks move in relative slow-motion as compared to smaller vehicles and are thus more predictable and easier to react to. I just simply have never had any problem with the truckers.

I think that the main problem with the average driver is that they drive like they walk or run down a side walk; bump into someone and just say excuse me; or why were you in my way?
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:13 PM   #34
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It sounds like you did everything right...you can't really do much more. I pull my 20ft FC "Daisy" across this fine country each year, with numerous other trips of 50-200 miles...and the principal danger/discomfort has always been semi's drifting into my lane...passing close to my rig. The best defense has always been vigilance, especially at night. Just keep an eye on your rear mirror, and adjust YOUR rig accordingly. I would not try to contest space with these big rigs at 65 mph. Stay safe. jon
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:18 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by gomotomoto View Post
I'd like to preface this post with the statement: I am a rookie having just done my first trip to pick up our airstream. It was a long one, 1200 miles from Orlando to New Jersey. For the most part it was very smooth, however the scariest element of the trip was dealing with all the trucks and their different driving styles.

Some of the truckers were courteous, in control and not threatening in anyway. others seem to be trying to run us off the road.
I have driven I-95 a couple of times. I don't find it to be an outlier compared to other interstates.

Most truckers are competent drivers. There are some exceptions, mostly inexperienced drivers for the "entry level" truckload lines.

There is some variation in driving style due to the fact that some of the major lines have specific policies that they enforce. For example some lines disallow flashing lights as a way of saying "thank you" or flashing headlights to encourage another vehicle to change lanes. Various lines also have different expectations regarding speed.

Quote:
I was constantly checking my rearview mirror's in anticipation of oncoming trucks and other passing vehicles. I was doing my best to be aware the entire time. I found that if I knew a truck was coming I was better prepared to deal with these road Giants approaching us at different speeds.
To paraphrase Wingeezer's post above, a well chosen tow vehicle, hitch, brake controller, and other safety-related equipment should allow you to run at speeds roughly comparable to other traffic. Running at a reasonable speed will reduce the sheer numbers of passing vehicles as well as their speed relative to you.

Quote:
Generally I could tell if a truck might challenge me in some way. If they appeared to be approaching very fast in the rearview I knew that it was going to rock my nerves a bit.
Interesting word choice. I do not remember perceiving that another vehicle was "challenging" me during a lifetime of driving. I do often observe that vehicles around me are being operated in an unsafe or discourteous manner. Rarely, I perceive that vehicles are being operated in a way that was deliberately chosen to communicate the operator's displeasure with me.

Quote:
I am not advising anybody to do this as I have no experience, but I did quickly learned that if I stood my ground on the left side of my lane, they would give me more room as they passed.
There is a fine line between claiming your needs and being a jerk. It sounds like you're legitimately claiming your needs. Be cognizant of the distinction as your driving style evolves.

Quote:
I am just wondering if any of you have techniques in dealing with the trucks and staying safe on the road. I know that they have a right to be there and I'm not suggesting otherwise
1. Aim high in steering. Cultivate a smooth style of driving that does not involve frequent changes to steering wheel position.
2. Choose from among the best available hitches, brakes, mirrors, and tires.
3. Treat the pre-trip inspection like someone's life depends on it. It does.
4. Maintain a consistent, courteous, safe speed giving due weight to such factors as: weather, road conditions, any equipment deficiencies, driver skill, and traffic. Bear in mind that the safest speed may be higher than the speed that will offer the best fuel economy.
5. Keep your cool.
6. Remember that the vast majority of traffic fatalities occur at intersections.

Quote:
but they were definitely the most dangerous element of the trip
Highway traffic statistics suggest otherwise. You would do well to cultivate a greater degree of paranoia about cars making left turns, either oncoming or crossing.

Quote:
Any insight or advice on my observations is welcomed. I'd love to hear how you guys handle the trucks and bad drivers.
1. There is no 100% effective strategy for handling bad drivers.
2. Bad (discourteous, unsafe, etc) drivers are best understood as a problem for law enforcement. They are a social ill that is largely borne of a declining emphasis on basic traffic enforcement as police resources are increasingly redistributed to DUI enforcement and the war on drugs. Nonetheless, people who drive in an unsafe fashion consistently, especially truckers who do that, eventually accumulate enough tickets to cause them to modify their behavior.
3. I find that collecting identifying information and reporting out bad behavior to police (or trucking lines) is rarely productive and interferes with my ability to keep my cool.
4. Consider that overly conservative driving may draw the ire of other roadway users.
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Old 11-14-2014, 01:33 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by gomotomoto View Post
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.
A little paranoia is wise.

On the other hand, an Airstream and tow vehicle do require a different mindset than a motorcycle.

Quote:
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.
Linehaul trucks for any of the package freight (UPS etc) or LTL freight (Fedex ground, Old Dominion, etc) are typically driven very professionally. Their drivers are not incentivized to run at excessive speeds or for long hours without breaks. Also, many of these trucks are doubles, which will keep a lower speed because they are less stable.

You will also find that trucks carrying hazardous chemicals are driven with particular skill and courtesy. Those jobs pay the best in the industry and take their pick of the drivers.
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Old 11-14-2014, 02:37 PM   #37
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You can tell the trucking companies that impose a 65 mph speed limit and have GPS tracking on the trucks. These are the guys I like to follow.
The bad truckers surely get on the good truckers nerves, too.
The UPS trucks are generally in the right lane doing 65 mph. UPS has an extensive training program and extreme punishment/discipline for breaking the rules. UPS really holds its drivers accountable for their actions. I am a fleet coordinator for a company with 300 trucks and 50 trailers. We have a consultant who is retired from UPS. We are trying to mirror the good qualities of UPS- mold/shape/model our company to be a company of the caliber-
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Old 11-14-2014, 02:48 PM   #38
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I prefer to drive slower when towing for many reasons. If you are running 45-50 mph
use the secondary roads. Its easier on your equipment and your nerves.
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Old 11-14-2014, 02:52 PM   #39
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What Jammer said, and Protagonist and Streamdreamn as well.

Almost all my driving has been in the West and the truckers are by far and away the folks I feel safest around. They know what they're doing and they are, as a rule, courteous. There are exceptions, but life sends you a jerk every once in a while (witness Protagonist). Also in the West, the rule is "Stay right except to Pass." The rule is mostly followed until you get to California, Phoenix, Salt Lake or Denver - and likely other big cities. I try to time my trips through the latter three on Sundays and try to avoid California altogether (but that's impossible - there's too much good stuff there ).

You have no idea, it seems, how fortunate you are in an AS. After 17 years of a SOB, the AS is an absolute dream to pull. Trucks approaching, passing, or us passing trucks - our girl is rock solid behind us, even on a two-lane with a 65 MPH limit. Cross winds on I-10 & I-20 in Texas? You hardly notice them except on the fuel gauge.

My experience leads me to wonder if some of your problem might be the set up of your tow package. The bow wave from semi's should have a negligible effect. Trucking companies are doing everything they can to make the rigs "slippery." In my experience, the worst effect is from local delivery Box Trucks. A bad driving experience can be anxiety producing. But I doubt professional truckers are the blame.

Just my 2 cents - YMMV.
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:00 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomotomoto View Post
I'd like to preface this post with the statement: I am a rookie having just done my first trip to pick up our airstream. It was a long one, 1200 miles from Orlando to New Jersey. For the most part it was very smooth, however the scariest element of the trip was dealing with all the trucks and their different driving styles.

Some of the truckers were courteous, in control and not threatening in anyway. others seem to be trying to run us off the road.

I was constantly checking my rearview mirror's in anticipation of oncoming trucks and other passing vehicles. I was doing my best to be aware the entire time. I found that if I knew a truck was coming I was better prepared to deal with these road Giants approaching us at different speeds.

Generally I could tell if a truck might challenge me in some way. If they appeared to be approaching very fast in the rearview I knew that it was going to rock my nerves a bit. Thankfully our anti-sway weight distribution system helped out a ton.

Trucks that were approaching me aggressively were the ones that shook me up the most some of them were not tracking straight and even drifted into my lane a little bit which I found incredibly unnerving with my entire family in the car.

I am not advising anybody to do this as I have no experience, but I did quickly learned that if I stood my ground on the left side of my lane, they would give me more room as they passed.

I assume they looked at me like someone with an airstream having no idea what he was doing in giving me a wide berth. When I did nothing and stayed in the middle of my lane they would use I'll be available real estate which was causing me a lot of stress.

I am just wondering if any of you have techniques in dealing with the trucks and staying safe on the road. I know that they have a right to be there and I'm not suggesting otherwise but they were definitely the most dangerous element of the trip minus the one guy in a cutlass sierra who was driving his car while texting with both hands all the while with a Close to flat tire.

Driving the airstream with your family in the car is a great responsibility and requires you being completely present at all times. Outside trucks I'd say it was an amazing experience while we towed. Any insight or advice on my observations is welcomed. I'd love to hear how you guys handle the trucks and bad drivers.
Never judge someone untill you have been in their shoes! Having grown up in a family owned trucking Co. I started driving over the road at 18 years of age. There are good and bad as in anything. What you have to remember is that most get paid by the mile, therefore the more miles they run in the alotted time, the more money they make. They are not on vacation nor a Sunday drive. I have been on both sides and feel that I understand both sides. When I drive or pull my RV I just make sure that I outrun everyone so I don't have any problems, except from an occasional "smokie!"
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:44 PM   #41
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Trucks and truck drivers have been with us foever, or so it seems.

In the early days, truck drivers were the knights of the road. They would ofen stop and help a motorist who was broke down along side the road.

Now they have insane schedules, and regulations. I'm going to guess, from the drivers that deliver to my plant, that 1/2 of them can't even speak English. They rush them thru Truck Driving School and get 'em on the road. From then on it's OJT.

There are still a lot of the good old drivers out there. A lot of them have campers, too. I have found those guys to be friendly and helpful. (I stopped in a rest stop to do some adjusting on my hitch a while back. A driver came over and offered to help. He told me how he wanted to get an AS when he retired and go explore the places that he drove by in his truck. Really nice guy.)
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Old 11-14-2014, 05:27 PM   #42
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It isn't the truckers that are stupid but the string of 4 wheelers that when they see As ahead they hog left lane for a mile back then I can't pass when I come on a slow mover causing me to slow down then when I can pass it takes time and fuel to bring back to speed as it is not a wheelbarrow I'm driving that can set down then pick up and go, further I drive speed limit or up to 5 over, so let's let some blame on drivers that must have obtained their driv lic. at walmart or some other big box store. I have had lic. over 65 yrs. dad taught me rite. Plus I give truckers every break I can as they are making a living with truck......
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