whatever happened to lane discipline, and what is it?
January 29, 2010
January 29, 2010
Driver #1: I’m just like every other driver out there plying the 401 corridor: I hate to back off the throttle since I’m governed at 99kph (love that word “governed” instead of “speed limited–Right O gov’ner check, my black box, eh what?”), even more so, I hate to make a brake application when unnecessary, but I really dislike having to throw on the binders just because buddy has been out in the left lane for 20 minutes, creeping up on me the last 5 exits. During that time I’ve passed four trucks and one car (ok I drive at night), now he’s closing in and getting a few lengths away and I come across a few real slow pokes in the right lane, a three-legger and a tanker and a car as well in the mix. Am I right to pull out in front of him even though he may have to put on the brakes?
Driver #2 In my opinion making excessive lane changes is dangerous and unnecessary. When I’m going to pass somebody I get in the left lane and stay there until I’ve done my business and passed who I want to pass. The four wheelers I don’t care about, they can do whatever they want behind me. The only time I’ll pull over for them is if they’ve got a red and blue flashing light on their roof. If I’m driving in the left lane to pass someone, and another truck pulls out in front of me and I have to put on the brakes, I consider that an unsafe move on the other driver’s part.
I think both drivers have a point, and there’s a little of both in most truckers. Usually, if I’m involved in a marathon passing session with another truck moving a fraction of a km faster or slower than me, I’ll back off and see if the positions realign, but I’ll pass a slow guy on a hill to keep my own momentum going…Sometimes I’ll notice someone slowly making a move at the top of the Kingston hill and they’ll catch me in Napanee. Then I’ll blow by them on Wooler hill and the dance begins again. But I have to say that it’s pretty polite out there most nights. Drivers give you lots of room. But I don’t think there’s any excuse for a professional driver sticking in the middle lane all the way through Toronto, and you see it not infrequently.
Last night I noticed a guy reading a book with the dome light on, and driving quite well actually, and another truck driver who was all over the road whenever he got past another vehicle. Most likely sleep deprived but I suppose he could have been drunk (actually they drive quite similarly). This guy would get past a truck or two alright and then would be floating across the lanes, or straddling both alternatively. I noticed he pulled over at Coutrice Rd. hopefully for a short sleep, it’s just too bad I can’t mention the company name, but I did chew him out pretty good on the radio, even though he probably wasn’t listening.
So blah blah, and drive safe, as they say grammatically incorrectly.
Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.
With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude. All posts by Harry Rudolfs