Friday, May 29, 2009

Back Seat Driving with Trucks

My husband, Mr. Terrific (not his real name), and I did some interstate traveling this week with a good friend. As expected, we encountered several large trucks along the way. What with all the gorgeous Missouri hills and all, we had the opportunity to pass a few.

I reminded Mr. Terrific to re-enter the driving lane only when he saw the truck’s full grille in the rearview mirror. He also got reminders about keeping the truck’s big mirrors in view when driving behind one. (Yes, I was in the back seat.)

That started a discussion in our vehicle. Good Friend remarked how anxious she gets when driving near commercial trucks. I explained that truck drivers are among the most safety-conscious people I know. It’s built into their jobs as rolling businesspeople. They check their vehicle safety systems before they start their workday. They log the location and time of every start, stop and break because there are tough rules about the amount of time they can be behind the wheel. They pull over at weigh stations so the Highway Patrol can check their paperwork and vehicle for violations.

Good Friend didn’t know about all of that. She asked about the mud flaps that say “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” They’re not kidding! The blind spots for trucks are HUGE. They’re located directly behind and in front of the truck and from the back bumper to almost the cab on the driver’s side and the front bumper on the passenger side.

I noticed that Mr. Terrific was leaving more space between our car and the trucks. “I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter whose fault a crash is…when it’s car versus commercial truck, it’s going to be bad news for the car.”

Smart guy, my Mr. Terrific.