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An essay/article about truckers/trucking

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Old 09-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default An essay/article about truckers/trucking

I doubt that there's any proper place for this but here ya go folks.

I am the wife of a trucker.

For many people, Semi-trucks may seem like a nuisance on the road. They're slower, bigger, and louder than your average commuter. They may annoy you, or even anger you for being on the road, possibly slowing down traffic, or taking too long to get moving after being stopped.

What many people fail to realize is, that there is another human being behind the wheel of the big-rig they just cut-off. These men and women have families at home, work long, strenuous hours, and have to follow a plethora of less than clear laws. They may not see their families for weeks, and when they do, they are home for a very short amount of time, sometimes only a day, before leaving to go back on the road again. They will sleep anywhere they can, whether it be a truck stop, rest area, or even a parking area with no bathroom facilities. They live off of what ever food they can quickly grab, coffee and the satisfaction of knowing what a big part in our lives they play.

These brave people make our way of life possible, without them almost every industry would fall, and the comfortable existences we have known would not be feasible. Everything we own, or touch has been carried by a truck. A single No. 2 pencil, has been on no less than 18 trucks, from the logs, graphite and rubber of it's beginning, to the finished product on store shelves. There is a saying in the trucking industry "If you've got it, a truck brought it" and there could never be a more true statement. To give you an idea of the integral role that truck drivers play, if all trucks stopped for one day, just 24 hours, it would take the nation 6 months to recover.

An average driving day for a trucker is 11 hours, that is not including the time it takes to fully inspect their truck and trailer before departing. During these 11 hours of driving, a trucker will deal with being cut-off, honking horns, reckless driving from other motorists and many, many middle fingers. I have seen first hand the danger that surrounds the trucking industry. I sat in the passenger seat of my husband's truck for 6 months and saw the care that was taken to ensure the safety of the very people who were cutting him off, trying to bully him by drifting into his lane, and even speeding through grass shoulders to get around him.

Too many truckers have died from the carelessness of other drivers, this reality became all too clear for me in January of 2013. While driving through Pennsylvania my husband had a casual conversation with the truck ahead of us over the CB radio, about 10 minutes after the conversation ended we saw a small sedan quickly cut-off the same truck in front of us. In an attempt to avoid a collision with the sedan, the trucker slowed down and attempted to move into the other lane, the truck ended up skidding and rolling over until it was upside down on the snow covered shoulder. The truck was crushed to the dashboard and the trucker did not survive. This trucker gave his life, to spare the injury, or even the death of the man who carelessly cut him off. That trucker's family will not see him again, if he had children, he will not get to see them grow up, get married, and have kids of their own. Seeing this scared me to no end, and made me really think about the safety of my husband.

Before you cut-off the truck in front of you, and get angry regarding their speed, please remember that they are people too. Also, remember that the food you eat, the clothes you wear, your car, and the medicines that save your life, were all brought in on a truck, just like the one ahead of you.

I am not a journalist, I am merely a wife who fears everyday that her husband is on the road. I sometimes get frustrated that he is gone so long, but I also worry about whether he will come home at all.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
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I am at least hoping that since I didn't get any replies, at least some of you read this.
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:57 PM   #3
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I just read this. Very true.

I've only flipped the bird when truckers aren't being safe as getting in my lane and me on to the shoulder, etc as well as on-trucker motorists but never for going slow or any of the reasons you've mentioned. I try to avoid driving alongside semis for a period of time, just hurry up and go past , based on my experiences on the road.

Thanks for writing this.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by amandie View Post
I just read this. Very true.

I've only flipped the bird when truckers aren't being safe as getting in my lane and me on to the shoulder, etc as well as on-trucker motorists but never for going slow or any of the reasons you've mentioned. I try to avoid driving alongside semis for a period of time, just hurry up and go past , based on my experiences on the road.

Thanks for writing this.
I've been run off the road more than once by truckers, so I am the same way. I avoid passing whenever possible, but if I have to pass...ZOOOOOM! lol
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizeria View Post
For many people, Semi-trucks may seem like a nuisance on the road. They're slower, bigger, and louder than your average commuter. They may annoy you, or even anger you for being on the road, possibly slowing down traffic, or taking too long to get moving after being stopped.

...During these 11 hours of driving, a trucker will deal with being cut-off, honking horns, reckless driving from other motorists and many, many middle fingers. .
I can understand that you worry about your husband, but in my experience I have been terrified of 18wheelers all my life. I can't tell you how many times trucks like this thunderously pass by me at unthinkable speeds. Even a small truck causes me to gasp and choke when it passes me on my bike and that's just on local roads. Shipping things is important, but so is the necessity to lessen our carbon footprint. Maybe we don't need avocados in NY shipped to us from Florida, maybe we should go without avocados. Maybe we should rely more on things closer to us, local supplies. That might help alleviate the need of such gigantic trucks. It kind of reminds me of this Brian Regan joke about log trucks, he's my favorite comic here's the joke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrFnXzGBtG8

So I can understand your side, but there are people like me who are really scared of them but it must suck if people are cutting them off. I rarely see such large trucks go at the appropriate speed limit, they're always speeding it seems.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:21 PM   #6
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For those saying they've been run off the road by truckers, please remember not all truckers are like this. Also, keep in mind that they are less aerodynamic that your car and their truck and trailer literally get THROWN by the wind from side to side, which is far beyond a drivers control.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:30 PM   #7
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My father drove an 18 wheeler for many, many years. I understand exactly what you are saying as I have rode with him plenty of times. I think a little compassion from everyone (drivers of cars and trucks alike) would go a long way! Getting angry, flipping the bird, cutting off, etc. solves nothing and only tends to just anger the other party and that's it.

On a related note, one time I had another car try to run me into a ditch. (I was in an SUV and he was in a pick up.) He tried passing me in an intersection and then cutting me off... I'm guessing his reason was that I wasn't getting to speed fast enough after the red light. To this day I'm not sure, I do know it was scary and solved nothing. I'm so thankful I was on my way to work and my newborn daughter wasn't in the car!

I used to feel "road rage", but feel it's not worth it to get angry anymore. There are poor drivers everywhere driving all different vehicles. I'm starting to ramble now so I will leave it at this.. We all need to be careful when driving, no matter what, for the sake of everyone on the road!
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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Also, trucks pollute a lot less than you think. Diesel is a much cleaner burning fuel than gasoline, also, sure the idea of totally local stuff is great but it means less jobs for hard working people. Trucks are important, regardless. Toothpaste, medicine, YOUR BIKE, all came on a truck.

It kind of sounds like you're demonizing the trucking industry because you think their pollution (which is STAGGERINGLY less than people realize) is more important than what they do.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:55 PM   #9
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My dad drove a oil truck when I was a kid. He told me during my teen years when I was learning to drive, to never cut off or stop short in front of a big truck because it takes them longer to stop. But these seemed obvious to me as they are bigger and heavier, so of course it would take longer to stop. With that fault in mind, what idiot would cut off a huge freakin truck??

On another note, vehicles of all kinds have the potential to house and idiot driver. This reminds me of the two sides of the motorcycle debate. Some say bikers die because of careless drivers that don't look..the other side says bikers endanger themselfes and others by not following the rules and driving recklessly. Same with truckers, and car drivers, and people on their bicycles.

OP, I'm sorry your husband has had some unfortunate experiences and I do not doubt that he's encounter rude drivers, but I'm sure their are many careless truckers as well.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizeria View Post
Also, trucks pollute a lot less than you think. Diesel is a much cleaner burning fuel than gasoline, also, sure the idea of totally local stuff is great but it means less jobs for hard working people. Trucks are important, regardless. Toothpaste, medicine, YOUR BIKE, all came on a truck.

It kind of sounds like you're demonizing the trucking industry because you think their pollution (which is STAGGERINGLY less than people realize) is more important than what they do.
I never said or implied that people should lose their jobs. I'm not demonizing anything, I'm expressing concern over a growing problem of pollution in which freight emissions play a role. A simple google search shows me that in fact it is not staggeringly less than you say, although I'm more than interested in seeing material that supports that claim. According to the following article that's not true, especially the statements in bold. Again, this is not an attack on individual drivers or their families or their well being, this is an environmental issue.

Freight companies operating in the U.S. and beyond do generate significant amounts of pollution. While transportation technologies and fuels have gotten more efficient in recent years, freight demands have grown considerably over the past two decades. Today, in the U.S. alone, for example, freight is responsible for about a quarter of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Most freight trucks, locomotives and ships run on diesel engines, which are major sources of emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and carbon dioxide (CO2). Repeated exposure to nitrogen oxide-based smog and particulate matter has been linked to a wide range of human health problems, and we all know what CO2 emissions are doing to the planet’s atmosphere and ecosystems in terms of global warming. According to a 2005 analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHA), heavy duty trucks are the biggest villains, accounting for 77.8 percent of total U.S. freight greenhouse gas emissions. Boat, train and airplane freight contribute10.8, 8.7 and 2.8 percent respectively. Besides filling up loads completely and keeping equipment well tuned, shippers can reduce emissions via smarter operations and procedures. Software developed by UPS’s Roadnet helps logistics managers re-engineer their fleet routing, preventing tons of emissions and saving millions of dollars and in the process. Newer Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards aim to reduce nitrogen oxide and particulate matter pollution from freight operators upwards of 60 percent by 2020. They are a step in the right direction, but the failure of Congress to pass substantive federal legislation limiting CO2 emissions means that a growing freight sector will continue to pump out more and more greenhouse gases. A recently released report by the tri-lateral North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA’s) Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) lays out a vision for how to make freight—the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in North America after electricity generation—more efficient and less polluting across Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The report identifies some scary trends. For example, emissions from freight-related vehicles grew 74 percent between 1990 and 2008—some 40 percent more than emissions growth from passenger vehicles over the same time span. Also, while emissions by light duty vehicles are expected to drop 12 percent by 2030, freight truck emissions are expected to grow by 20 percent. To start turning the freight sector around, CEC recommends that the three countries party to NAFTA start shifting to lower carbon fuels, putting a price on carbon emissions and replacing crumbling infrastructure. These fixes won’t be cheap, but CEC claims they will save money in the long run and clean up of North American freight altogether. - See more at: http://www.emagazine.com/earth-talk/....8BIBwsxV.dpuf
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:07 PM   #11
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Wow, Wanna.

Mizeria- I know not all truckers are like that.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:34 PM   #12
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"Maybe we don't need avocados in NY shipped to us from Florida" AMEN. The hard realities of needing to change the carbon based economy mean that our use of carbon intensive freight needs to be much more conservative. Unfortunately that means a need for fewer trucks on the road which translates to fewer truckers...however if I have to choose between someones job and clean water and air for my children and theirs...I choose my kids every time!
My Father in law, brother in law, and uncle are all great men and all truck drivers...I respect good truckers and appreciate the job they do, but the sad fact is many of the things we buy and they carry we just don't NEED. Think dollar store junk. It's not their fault and it doesn't devalue their careers, it just means we need to be more mindful consumers. I'm never angered when they drive slowly up hills (or anywhere else), although I have encountered a few jerk truckers that make the road a dangerous place, thankfully they seem to be the minority.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:33 PM   #13
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I don't have anything against truckers in general, most are good hardworking folks.

However, on the flip side, my husband, for 10 years, did service calls and picked up truck wrecks!

My oldest son is also a state trooper, DOT officer, see's a lot of the dumb ones.

Unfortunately the stupidity of the few, gives a bad rap, to the the majority.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:15 AM   #14
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I probably wouldn't be alive now if it wasn't for a truck driver. When I was a teenager my dad was driving my mom and I to Utah from Northern California. We were traveling through the pass at night when a blizzard started. It was pitch black and we couldn't see anything. Suddenly a semi truck came up beside us, honked, pulled up in front and turned on his high beams so my dad could see. He led us the rest of the way through the pass and to safety.
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