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Trucker's Journal

I've been a trucker since November, 2004. Before that I was an accountant for many years. I'm having fun and actually making more than I did before. Go figure....

Name:
Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Visibility

This is one of the hardest things to explain to a 4-wheeler. Visibility in a big rig is both better and worse than what you have. On the better side, I'm a lot higher than you are; my seat is about 6 feet above the road, placing my eyeballs about 8.5-9' up. This allows me to see above your roof (in most cases) meaning that I can see road conditions and obstructions better than you can. Incidentally, that height also allows me to see into most cars and small trucks unless your windows are heavily tinted. If you're doing something you don't want me to see, such as drinking a beer, rolling a joint, or other activities (some of which should be confined to the bedroom or other private place, either solo or as a duet), then remember that when I'm next to you at a red-light or you're passing me, then wait until later.

In direct opposition to the enhanced visibility I may have to the front, my side and rear views are confined entirely to what I can see in my mirrors. If you've never been seated in a big rig's driver's seat, you really have no idea how limited that area is. I'm sure you've seen the signs on trailers which say "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you." How true that is! There are times when people get so close to me the only way I can see that they are there depends on lighting. If at night, I can see your headlights shining to the sides behind my trailer, or in the daytime if the sun is right, I can see your shadow to the side following me. Your brakes are better than mine, so if I decided I need to stop suddenly, you can avoid hitting me provided your reaction time is good. If not, well, you may end up with a crunched hood, radiator, lights, etc., and I will have a small set of scratches on the trailer bumper. Believe me, I will win almost any physical contest you and I get into.

On the sides, there are huge blind spots where I can't see you in my flat mirrors. I do have convex mirrors also, and sometimes you will be visible there. If I'm trying to change lanes, please be alert for my turn signals and avoid pulling into those areas on my side where I have difficulty seeing. I don't really want to force you over with my trailer while you're next to me, but if I don't know you're there, it's a possibility.

Remember, you always know I'm there, but the opposite isn't always true. Please drive accordingly and we will both get home safely and without points on our licenses.

More later, perhaps next weekend.

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