*originally posted in Feb 2014*
Truckers who can’t shift properly? No, that grinds THEIR gears! Haha!
I’m talking about all those people who don’t know squat about trucking or driving a truck and yet badmouth truckers at every opportunity they can! Almost every time a truck accident happens, you have all those “experts” coming in and saying stupid crap about how the driver failed and how regulations should be more strict. Yada-yada-yada! Would you criticize an heart surgeon while knowing nothing about medicine or heart surgery? I think not. OK, so driving a truck doesn’t require a PhD, but that doesn’t mean the job doesn’t require specialized skills or knowledge!
My very own grandfather (RIP) on my mom’s side was one of them critics. Being myself a trucker didn’t stop him to openly badmouth truckers. One day, he went off about why some truck drivers are always tailgating cars (4-wheelers in trucker lingo) and look like they are always angry or late. First off, if you’re going at least the speed limit, a trucker has no reason to be angry at you. If you don’t, then yes, some can have a short tolerance of slow drivers. Why exactly is this? Surely you’ve heard the term “time is money”. Most truckers (except city or regional drivers) are NOT paid by the hour, we are paid by the miles or by the run itself. That means that the longer it takes for us to complete a run, the less income we can muster within a set period (week, month, or year). So you see, other motorists actually influence our net income and productivity. What other jobs can say the same?
Again, I had trouble getting my point across to my grandpa, so I used my comparison tactics. He used to be a nurse assistant (that was a forced career change as woodworking died in our city), so I used that to make him understand. Let’s say you wouldn’t be paid by the hour but rather by the medical reports you deliver. The first few times that other people would get in your way in the hospital’s corridors, you won’t make anything out of it. Then it happens again, and again, and again. It’s normal that you’ll start to get annoyed at those stupid people that doesn’t give way to you. Hell, you’re paid by the report delivery, they are not, why the fuck do they not realize this? Simple, people don’t care, you’re just another guy and a fucking nuisance to them, you lowly sissy nurse assistant.
OK, so this shouldn’t overrule safety and respect of traffic laws, and most truckers respect that. However, shouldn’t you try and help the trucker do his job and be productive so he can bring the bacon and have more time with his family? That is also a stress point for drivers. Having a family while never being home is very difficult for most truckers. Think about that. Imagine you have a sick child or wife at home, and you have no choice but to leave for your week long run while knowing this. Wouldn’t this guy be allowed to be a little bit angry at the slowpoke preventing him to get back as soon as he can? Think about that too.
So next time you see a semi closing in your mirrors, don’t assume he’s some jacked up crackhead roadrager. There’s probably another reason, so don’t be a self-righteous prick (it’s not your place or job anyway) and do try to help him out if you can. Maybe he’s just trying to get back home to his family…
I’d be happy to debunk any trucking myths, concerns, or stereotypes you might be having. However, do bear in mind that I am not your stereotypical trucker myself, so I cannot speak for all of us, nor can I explain away everything, but I’ll do my best to answer your question in a truthful manner as an experienced working representative of the trucking industry!
Keep on truckin’!
P.S. There’s a TV show called “American Trucker”, do give it a look if you can. It helps bring understanding to the general public about the trucking industry.