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This is not about relationships. I'm not going to confess to insensitivity, infidelity or bad breath. This is concerning a much more prosaic subject. Why do truck drivers drive the way they do?

Why is my nose so close to your butt?
Ever wonder why that big rig seems intent on climbing into the trunk of your Audi? It's not because the driver hates you or wants to know what you have in there. It's probably because he's trying to maintain his momentum. Tractor trailers don't behave the way your 4 wheeler does. If you need to go faster, you mash the gas and go faster (unless you drive a Yugo, but I digress). You have around 200 horsepower (HP) to move somewhere around 3,000 lbs, just using common estimates. That's 1 HP per 15 lbs of vehicle weight. My rig has 465 HP to move 80,000 lbs. That's just over 172 lbs per HP. A sizable difference indeed. Rigs commonly use the vehicle's inertia to maintain speed. That's why we fly downhill-its to acquire momentum to help climb the next hill. It's a very delicate balancing act to maintain as much momentum as possible without running over impeding objects (you). So next time you look up and Billy Bigrigger is coming on strong, you can figure out why.

Why am I always about to crush you like a bug?
Another thing to consider is this: while we may go faster, we slow down slower. The reason again is physics. You weigh less per tire on the road and the amount of tire you have in contact with the road is proportionally greater than a rig. Also you generally have 4 tires in contact with the road and 4 brakes to stop those tires from rotating. That's 3,000 lbs divided by 4 tires = 750 lbs/tire. A rig has 18 tires but only 10 brakes to stop them. That's 80,000 lbs divided by 18 tires = 4,444 lbs/tire. That's why you may stop suddenly, then glance in the rearview to see a big rig veering off onto the shoulder. He does that to keep you from enjoying a chromium enema.

Some other things you may want to consider. Really. I'm serious.
When you go down the interstate and see a vehicle coming down an entrance ramp to merge, don't slow to 20 miles per hour and wave for them to merge. I know, you're a good person. Your doctor, insurance agent and minister all agree you're a good person. The time to exhibit your goodness isn't by slowing below the speed traffic is flowing. Most interstates have a posted minimum speed. If you want to be a Good Samaritan, invite a homeless person home with you for a shower and a home cooked meal.

Have you ever seen a rig in your rearview and all you could see is what looks like wolf's teeth? It's not because the driver wants to eat you up, little girl. It's because they just look cool. Don't read motive into them.

Hey, I'm trying to work here.
What you interpret as aggressive driving may not be that at all. Remember, the guys and gals behind that wheel are working, same as bus drivers or taxi drivers. We're not out just going somewhere for fun. Our industry is a performance based animal. Sometimes there are financial penalties for not making a delivery on time. If you are on the hook for the costs involved with an auto assembly line being idled because the parts are late, it could cause you to hurry. We have to get the job done within a framework that includes traffic conditions, regulatory requirements, and safety considerations. Errors in judgment occur and when they do the results usually make the 6:00 news. You can help us by being aware of what we are doing.

If you insist on driving while messed up or not paying attention, we're NOT going to get along.
If you're out in the left lane and there's a rig beside you on the right and there's a car in front of him, you can be pretty sure he's gonna want to pass. To do that you may have to speed up or slow down to give him room. It may interrupt your enjoyment of that monster bass coming from the speakers. You may have to be aware of other drivers on the road and what they're doing. Resign yourself to getting your groove on at a later time.

If you're driving while under the influence of some major good herbage and miss your exit, don't stop on the ramp and back down onto the interstate highway. I saw your buddies passing the doob in the back seat. You are getting ready to die an incredibly messy painful death.

Driving is such an everyday part of our lives that we sometimes do it without thinking. I'm guilty of it and so are you. It's hard to focus on driving when you're worried about your kids (or parents), your classes, your bills, your post nasal drip. It'd be a shame for your inattention to meet my inattention.

This is my attempt to give you food for thought. Maybe you'll begin to see how it is through that huge windshield I look out of every day. Maybe you'll sympathize just a bit.

Then again the driver in that rig behind you might just be a real psych job who doesn't give a tinker's damn about you, your kids or your mother-in-law. Either way, your best bet is to give him a little space. There is no shortage of dangerous, inconsiderate morons driving big rigs. You get to be the judge. If you see someone driving unsafely, vote them off the island.

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