If you have ever taken a road trip outside of a capital city you are sure to have seen some big trucks. They come in all colours, shapes and sizes and they all have a job to do. The majority of freight is moved by trucks and that includes your groceries, your fuel, livestock, and building supplies just to list a few.
The life of a truck driver is not something you can understand just by reading a blog. Long hours, unpredictable work schedules and all of the dangers that the road has to offer are a part of their day to day. As a car driver there are a few simple things you can do to make their work day and their rest time a little more pleasant.
1. Give them space. As you cruise the highways you will notice a few different types of rest area. Some are just for cars and caravans to pull over. These are easily identified because they have lovely shaded seating areas and toilet facilities. Some are just for trucks. These rarely have facilities of any kind but are long and wide for big trucks to easily maneuver.
Regardless of the facilities on show there should be signage. If in doubt avoid parking close to trucks and give them space. If you are not a truck, please stay out of the truck only rest areas. Truck drivers use these rest areas to check over their vehicles carrying out basic maintenance and repairs. Trucks are a big bit of machinery and can be dangerous. A truck driver’s life will be much easier if they don’t have to worry about you accidentally being run over or hurt.
2. Keep quiet around parked trucks. Truck drivers will pull over to catch up on much needed sleep. Just imagine if you pulled up at the end of a long day to rest and a mob of tourists were camped next to you talking and singing and carrying on.
The big part at the rear of the truck cab is a sleeper cab. The driver will crawl into the sleeper cab and sleep after they have been driving all day. This is their home and their bedroom when they are on the road. Just as you would respect the bedroom of a sleeping friend at their house you should respect the truck. Give the driver privacy and keep noise to a minimum.
Truck drivers keep odd hours and may have driven all night only pulling up for a nap in the middle of the day. Never assume that just because it isn’t bedtime someone isn’t trying to sleep. You never know when a professional driver in need of some well deserved sleep is inside so keep quiet around parked trucks and respect the driver’s privacy.
3. Dim your high beam lights as you pass. When I drive past a parked truck at night on the highway I always dim my lights. Not only so I do not disturb the drivers sleep, but also because just like an oncoming car they can be blinded by your bright lights.
If the driver is walking around checking the truck or sitting in the cab making plans, your bright lights will prove a distraction and an inconvenience. It is good manners to dim your lights and make their day a little easier. Remember the road is their office and anything you can do to make their work day a little easier should be encouraged.
After a many long road trips myself, I have the greatest respect for truck drivers. Regardless of if they are taking a load across town or across the country they are a major player on the road. Driving a truck is a profession. The road is their office. They have families that they want to get home and see too. Please do what you can to let them get on with their job and keep the country moving.
If you have any tips of your own that you would like to share please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org