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Old 07-16-2011, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,781,044 times
Reputation: 2307

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Cruising: You are definitely unlucky and have my sincere sympathy. Your experience is a statistical anomaly for sure.

I've been driving for 45 years and, excluding solo deer hits (four), never had an accident. I attribute that more to blind luck than any particular skill on my part. I've done my fair share of dumb things on the road (I was a hot roder in my well spent youth ) but so far have been just plain lucky to not have experienced an accident.

I have always preferred roads with the least amount of traffic when traveling. I can handle Mother Nature, including a habit of simply pulling over and park it when appropriate (ice/blinding rain, etc.). Its other drivers that have always scared me.

In my working/commuting years I intentionally took the back roads to work instead of the faster (if it wasn't jammed up) Interstate route. It added 15 minutes each way but was a much more relaxed trip and seriously reduced the probability of an accident. Some folks don't have that approach as a practical option and they have my sympathy.

Now retired, we've done some extensive road tripping in our car(s) and RV. The number of dumb things I've seen people do is almost enough to make a wise person park it and take the bus. Having said that, we'll continue extensive road tripping because its something we really enjoy. I much prefer and plan such trips around reducing the traffic volume I can anticipate whenever feasible.

My best advice (maybe worth what it costs you here) would be:

1) Use secondary/tertiary roads whenever possible. It takes more time (most of the time, but major road screw-ups can obviate that penalty rather quickly).

2) Try to plan your travel times to minimize volumes. We frequently avoid the high volume commuter times in any given area. Its just not worth the greater risk of being on the road. I prefer to drive before or after the commuter folks have done their gig.

3) The vast majority of long haul truckers are the safest drivers on the road, they are pros. On the unavoidable Interstate trips, I much prefer to follow an 18 wheeler or string of them who are just cruising along at a constant speed.

The reduced visibility is a trade off but with a safe spacing I'm comfortable because it reduces my chances of dealing with the inevitable idiot blasting through traffic. I don't recommend being between two big guys because while my braking distance is great compared to the guy in front, the truck in back is a threat in an emergency. If I'm on the Interstate, I'm the "tail".

4) You already now this but its worth repeating - the travel gods, for whatever reason, have selected you for extreme attention. Karma - just always know that you're not paranoid - they really ARE out to get you. Drive accordingly, you have my best wishes for safe travels.

Last edited by Pilgrim21784; 07-16-2011 at 07:17 AM..
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Denver
339 posts, read 1,094,598 times
Reputation: 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilgrim21784 View Post
Cruising: You are definitely unlucky and have my sincere sympathy. Your experience is a statistical anomaly for sure.


4) You already now this but its worth repeating - the travel gods, for whatever reason, have selected you for extreme attention. Karma - just always know that you're not paranoid - they really ARE out to get you. Drive accordingly, you have my best wishes for safe travels.
Thanks for tips. I've always been more cautious about backroads as there's usually where all the deer are LOL. The ride from Amarillo, TX to San Antonio is full of them especially at night.

At this point I will never trust another trucker. They used to seem more professional back in the 90s...but this has not been the first time I've had one either cut in front of me too quickly or drive to close behind me to scare me into changing lanes.

In addition, the other month on a road trip a semi had apparently slid across oncoming traffic and crashed into a tree in the mountains, but no one else was involved. I just imagined what if I'd left earlier? That could have been any one of us in the oncoming traffic.

They keep this up, everything is going to have to go back to being delivered by train.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:28 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,555 posts, read 39,934,465 times
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I have been an accident free commercial driver for 40 yrs, BUT have had 3 cars totaled in 3 yrs by chain reaction rear end collisions (all caused by cell phone talking SUV's).

The risks are definitely higher these days. Having also been an exhaustive Motorcycle touring person, I drive VERY defensively.

I recommend learning and practicing this. (Keep reminder cards on hand, until the become second nature.) 5 smith rules of driving. Take the course (FedEx did mine)

Read more: 5 smith rules of driving

IMPORTANT to expect the unexpected and ALWAYS keep a minimum of 4sec following distance.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:19 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,346,592 times
Reputation: 9919
Quote:
Originally Posted by CruisingUSA View Post
Thanks for tips. I've always been more cautious about backroads as there's usually where all the deer are LOL. The ride from Amarillo, TX to San Antonio is full of them especially at night.

At this point I will never trust another trucker. They used to seem more professional back in the 90s...but this has not been the first time I've had one either cut in front of me too quickly or drive to close behind me to scare me into changing lanes.

In addition, the other month on a road trip a semi had apparently slid across oncoming traffic and crashed into a tree in the mountains, but no one else was involved. I just imagined what if I'd left earlier? That could have been any one of us in the oncoming traffic.

They keep this up, everything is going to have to go back to being delivered by train.
Sorry to hear about your encounter with a big truck. The vast majority of truckers are very professional. Just like with any other group, there's a few bad apples in the barrel. I've been a trucker for almost 15 years and the only accident I've ever been involved in was the result of a Jeep next to me losing control on an icy bridge. (Knock on wood...)

Personally, I'd like to see more and better driver training for BOTH car & truck drivers. Car drivers are not trained well enough to share the road with trucks and busses. And there are no federal requirements for driving time before someone earns a Commercial license (CDL) Today's entry-lvel truck drivers go through a quick 3- of 4-week school, put with a "trainer" for a couple of weeks and then given his or her own truck. Too fast, IMHO.

If you have concerns about a truck driver you see on the road; get his tractor # and 1-800 number from the trailer. (or look the company up on the web) Any reputable company's Safety Director wants to hear about their drivers; good or bad.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Denver
339 posts, read 1,094,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
Car drivers are not trained well enough to share the road with trucks and busses. And there are no federal requirements for driving time before someone earns a Commercial license (CDL) Today's entry-lvel truck drivers go through a quick 3- of 4-week school, put with a "trainer" for a couple of weeks and then given his or her own truck. Too fast, IMHO.
well, apparently the person in the truck wasn't trained well enough either. And the person was in her 40s, so it wasn't like it was some young 20 year old doing something like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
IMPORTANT to expect the unexpected and ALWAYS keep a minimum of 4sec following distance.

Exactly! (although I was taught it was 3 seconds).

I see way too many people following too closely and I'll even count the seconds that the car behind passes the lane dividers. Usually people are following in 1 and 2 second intervals!

Had that idiot semi lady followed that rule, there would have been no reason to crash into me.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:11 AM
 
4,800 posts, read 10,575,985 times
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One tip I have for dealing with large trucks is to get around them and away from them as quick as possible. When I pass a large truck I always scoot around it as fast as I safely can. I know this isn't always possible in heavy traffic but it is most other times.
I don't know how many times I have seen some driver pass a semi-truck and take 3 minutes to do it creating a line of cars behind them. I guess maybe they have their cruise control on and are too lazy to push on the accelerator to get past it quickly so they pass going 1 mile per hour faster than the truck.
I don't know if the OP does this, but I always try and drive as isolated as possible. Lots of people seem to like to drive in packs on the freeways. Whenever a pack of cars is either coming up on me or I am passing, I get by them as soon as possible. It avoids potential problems.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:24 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,346,592 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanhawk View Post
One tip I have for dealing with large trucks is to get around them and away from them as quick as possible. When I pass a large truck I always scoot around it as fast as I safely can. I know this isn't always possible in heavy traffic but it is most other times.
I don't know how many times I have seen some driver pass a semi-truck and take 3 minutes to do it creating a line of cars behind them. I guess maybe they have their cruise control on and are too lazy to push on the accelerator to get past it quickly so they pass going 1 mile per hour faster than the truck.
EXCELLENT advice, Kanhawk! There's nothing more frustrating than having another driver next to or near you who believes that, once cruise control is set, you can't touch the accelerator pedal EVER again! I've been frustrated by BOTH car drivers AND my fellow professionals who "camp out" next to me. Or a car that camps out in the right lane. And because of the rolling terrain, I can't get enough momentum to pass them because all I can do is 65 mph. While they could easily bump up their speed to let me back in and keep some distance between us.

It also doesn't bother me to let off my cruise to let the big truck next to me get past me and come back in front when the traffic starts backing up behind them.

One of the things I truly love about driving is the ability to use your thinking skills to get down the road safely and courteously versus just riding alng, texting and being oblivious of what's going on around you.
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:00 PM
 
253 posts, read 164,942 times
Reputation: 145
Cruising, semi's are very scary to drive next to. I've noticed that semi's are very aggressive on the road, they just don't seem to care. I'm glad you're alright after that, yikes!
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:03 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,346,592 times
Reputation: 9919
Quote:
Originally Posted by tippinturtle View Post
Cruising, semi's are very scary to drive next to. I've noticed that semi's are very aggressive on the road, they just don't seem to care. I'm glad you're alright after that, yikes!
Tippinturtle, that's one of my biggest frustrations as a trucker; that car drivers are afraid to be next to us. And aren't taught to share the road with us. The vast majority of truckers ARE professional. A hundred may pass you (or you pass them) and you never notice. But, just like any job, all it takes is the one idiot. All of us DO care about the car drivers we share the road with! As above, please report bad behavior to the carrier of the driver you observe driving unsafely or discourteously. I've done it a number of times and I assure you that most trucking companies DO want to hear about their drivers misbehaving. My carrier is among many that hire a company to film us drivers in action. I know I'VE been filmed several times (with positive results, I'm proud to add) And my carrier takes action against the drivers who aren't professional. Happy motoring!
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:51 PM
 
32,532 posts, read 30,651,383 times
Reputation: 32347
Worst accident I was ever in was 1 block from my house. The other guy ran a stop sign and took out the front third of my car.
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