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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
They terrify you, cut you off, cause all sorts of buffeting, hog the road, wobble all over the place and just get in the way. Still, in Nth America by the latest counts, there are millions of tractor trailers on the road daily. The average daily mileage per unit is around 500 plus miles and they have the lowest accident rate of accidents per mile than any wheeled form of transportation.

But we still don't like em. Every commodity we use has involved transit by one of these behemoths and despite the sheer number of them, we are never taught how to drive around and coexist with them. Thats right folks, no driver training is offered in any type of licensing.

As a motorcyclist, they offer particular perils, buffeting, hard to see around and they can crush you in a blink of an eye.

Most have never seen the inside of a Tractor Trailer and I thought i would share with you they view from the other side of the windshield and a few major "no no's". At this time i am waiting to get reloaded. I am sitting in Valdosta. Georgia after delivering yesterday in Miami FL.

My ride ....

A Volvo 780, 13 speed stick, 465 HP diesel motor with a 53 foot dry van air ride trailer. Its big, fully loaded it weighs 80,000 lbs. and is just under 75 feet long. At 60mph, fully loaded, it requires at least 5 football fields to come to a complete stop and that does not include reaction time.



The Inside Accommodations.

Drivers Cockpit



In the Bunk Area





Flat Screen TV/DVD/ Fridge and Microwave





How much can a driver really see.

Left mirror


Right Mirror


As you can see, not a lot in the mirrors, most of what i see is further down the road, it sticks with you and you look for it as it gets closer.
The old saying "if you cant see my mirrors i cant see you" is very true, ride to close to me your out of my view. When you pull out to pass i just as surprised at your move as you may be with mine. Im still amazed at the amount of riders and drivers that find it necessary to tailgate. Happens every day.

Riding or Driving around me

If you pass me, remember, i cant stop quickly. Pulling in front immediately after the passing maneuver is a ticket to get flattened. Passing me and then slowing to exit an off ramp ain't real smart either. (a real favorite with cages). For some reason, nobody likes being behind a big truck.

Another pet peeve is those that duck in front of me when coming to a red stop light, you have just taken up 15 ft of my braking zone ... not a real smart move.

Why do trucks wobble all over the road.

A couple of reasons, first the ones out of our control. That big white trailer is like a 53 ft sail, if its windy it pushes us around like crazy, loaded or unloaded. Trucks follow tire ruts just like cars, because of there higher center of gravity, this tends to increase the vehicle movement. Super Single tires while being more fuel efficient tend to flex more than the old style duel tires.

The ones in our control ... drivers texting, on the phone, pouring coffee, watching movies, playing with their computers, eating, (yes i have seen it all and admit to the eating and pouring coffee .... my phone , i have a headset and i don't text) mechanical issues and just poor lane control compounded with the above issues out of our control all contribute to the wobble. If your passing a truck, look at his head "body language", you can tell if their focused or up to something.

In general

When driving around cities, big trucks are slow, it takes time to go thru 13 gears, look for street signs, follow directions, watch for traffic in front, beside and behind you, calculate turning radius's etc. Show some patience, cut us some slack, give us some room to manouver..... it may just save your life.

The next time you see a "No Zone" bill board, look closely, you will see that I really cant see all that much.

Just my rant for the day ... I try to be a professional at what i do, 13 years and a little over 1.8 million miles with no accidents tells me i am doing a reasonable job at it, yes, i have had some close calls, some my fault, some not, i just get tired of seeing all the carnage on the roads every day and seeing people who have no concept of how close they become to dying, with out realizing that they were even in a situation.

One thing is for sure, in a accident involving a tractor trailer and a car or motorcycle, i know for sure who will be walking away from that one.
 

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BOTM Winner, December 2013
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I painted one of those midland green last weekend...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I painted one of those midland green last weekend...
They sure have a different green ... i just finished the rest of the post. cheers maurice
 

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wocka, wocka, wocka
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no even close to PC speak

nobody wants to ride behind a semi or any other large truck because they cannot see what is going on up ahead. the fact that you sit so high, you see over the top of everything 'cept nuther truck. and of course the turbulance behind is annoying. Back where you/we can see each other in the mirrors is where the turbulance is the greatest. actually the air is more still the closer you get to the trailer, so its natural to drift/draft into that zone w/o thinking about the dangers.

Trucks/Trailers have displaced a lot of what Trains used to haul. We have become a convenience society and we want everything now. Trucks can do that. Trains dont.

I know this is a touchy subject because we all SHARE the road. it is my opinion that to as much as reasonable ($ and practicle) Seperate Roads should be built for Trucks (just like trains) and seperate roads for cars. I know this steps on a lot of toes. But Trucks are the New Trains and cars are out of control.. they dont need to be any where near each other.
this is the same scenario for those who love to ride thier bicycles in traffic.. bicycles not motor bikes (tho I dont like to ride in traffic either).
A motor vehicle and a bicycle have about as much in common as a Semi Truck and a squashible metal box w/wheels. They need to be on thier own seperate roadways.... or not, just keep em dying.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
nobody wants to ride behind a semi or any other large truck because they cannot see what is going on up ahead.
then why do they tailgate ??

( funny, cause when i was a kid "idiot", we used to ride as close to the ICC bumpers as we could get, kinda a manhood thing, no fun behind a cattle truck. LOL)

where you/we can see each other in the mirrors is where the turbulence is the greatest. actually the air is more still the closer you get to the trailer, so its natural to drift/draft into that zone w/o thinking about the dangers.
I agree, on the side draft, it can actually suck you in towards the trailer.

Trucks/Trailers have displaced a lot of what Trains used to haul. We have become a convenience society and we want everything now. Trucks can do that. Trains don't.
We actually move air freight from San Francisco fri 8 pm EST and deliver it sun 8PM EST in Toronto, quicker than using planes over the same week end time frame allowing for p/up and delivery. Mind you, the shipper still charges air freight rates, go figure.

Separate Roads should be built for Trucks (just like trains) and separate roads for cars.
Works for me, then i would only have to put up with dumb ass truck drivers.

The game has changed over the years, just in time freight, reduced store inventory's, free trade, deregulation of the trucking industry, reduced rates, an aging professional driver population with out an equal hiring intake, couple that with a reduced amout of respect towards our fellow man with a big dose of "its all about me " attitude, its no wonder we have the problems that we all face on the roads regardless of what we drive or ride.
 

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That was very well put! I spent 6 years on the Highway doing the same run day in and day out. for the last 3 or so years, I have been dragging a 53ft van though the city everyday. Does not matter what I'm driving/ridding, I have seen way to much of the stupid side of trained experienced drivers/riders. I have become aware that a lot of the issues arises from the fact that some people just have no idea of the risks they put themselves in. In short people not involved with bikes don't seem to be aware of bike issues, the same goes for those of us that drive the highways and byways of the world. more education needs to be hammered into all of us in regards to all means of transportation this world offers.
keep the wheels between the ditches and the smokies out of your britches.
Rubber side down. and enjoy the ride.:D
 

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Thanks Whiting for showing us the other side of the windshield! I think most of us precieve that you can see everything I/we can see. Pulling our 5th wheel (blocks everything out of the rear view mirror) is a lot more stressful than driving the pickup or motorcycle. It would be cool if you could video some of the stupid things you see, like cages pulling over right in front of you, or like you said, pulling over...slowing down...exiting off the interstate, etc. from inside the cab and post them here so we could see what we are doing to you guys. I think a lot of people would open their eyes if they saw how their actions appear to someone else. You can probably tell as someone is passing you if they are about to do something real stupid...just put that phone on video and hit the record, then post it on here. Don't ask me how, I know it sounds easy, but I don't know how to do it! Ha ha
As far as tailgating a big truck, especially on a bike...I've seen a lot of re-treads laying on the road, seems like more lately (excuse me, I think you guys call them gators?) I can image tailgating a big rig when they straddle one of those. No time to see it, especially if you're on a bike. Bet your but cheeks will pinch that mustang seat then!
Thanks for this post.
Keep safe my friend!
 

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Megatron
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Thanks for this Whiting. It is good for those of us who have never seen the inside of a truck or have no idea what you can or cannot see or do.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said a big cause of today's ills is the "its all about me" attitude. This is not only true on the highways but just about everywhere you go. If more people would take the time to think about how their actions affect others this world would be a much better place.
Thanks for your post and please keep safe out there.
 

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My dad drove for years, everything from daily local runs to week long cross country trips. I spent a lot of days on the road with him and I think that has helped me understand what (not) to do when driving or riding close to trucks. I haven't been inside a truck in a long time so it's good to see one again. Ride safe, drive safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Whiting for showing us the other side of the windshield! I think most of us perceive that you can see everything I/we can see. Pulling our 5th wheel (blocks everything out of the rear view mirror) is a lot more stressful than driving the pickup or motorcycle. It would be cool if you could video some of the stupid things you see, like cages pulling over right in front of you, or like you said, pulling over...slowing down...exiting off the interstate, etc. from inside the cab and post them here so we could see what we are doing to you guys. I think a lot of people would open their eyes if they saw how their actions appear to someone else. You can probably tell as someone is passing you if they are about to do something real stupid...just put that phone on video and hit the record, then post it on here. Don't ask me how, I know it sounds easy, but I don't know how to do it! Ha ha
As far as tailgating a big truck, especially on a bike...I've seen a lot of re-treads laying on the road, seems like more lately (excuse me, I think you guys call them gators?) I can image tailgating a big rig when they straddle one of those. No time to see it, especially if you're on a bike. Bet your but cheeks will pinch that mustang seat then!
Thanks for this post.
Keep safe my friend!
Hey there Zig, first, congrats on the new job. As far as the camera mount, i don't have one, however due to liability laws and high insurance costs, some trucks can now be spec'd with them running on a endless loop. We have trucks in out fleet spec'd with NORAD anti collision with smart cruise, if a vehicle in front gets to close, the truck reduces speed on the cruise and once clear, it will pick up speed again. It can and will lock up the brakes if necessary.

There was an article not so long ago in a trucking magazine about a motorcyclist who damn near had his head taken off because of a gator, killed instantly. Hell, i took a pigeon off on the top of my helmet a couple of years ago at 50 mph, nearly took me right off the bike, sure did ring my bell.

My 2 favorite drivers are the ones who run out of real estate on a "get on" ramp, cause there on the phone and don't realize there is traffic beside them and the ones texting going down the road, you can tell by their body language what there doing, i wait till there right next to me and hit the air horns, many a phone has ended up in the back seat.

I am so used to it, and expect to get cut off at least 10 times a day, when it happens, i just think there only 9 more to go, i don't even get excited about it anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I haven't been inside a truck in a long time so it's good to see one again. Ride safe, drive safe.
There getting better, microwave, big fridge, Flat screen tv/dvd, dinette, toastter, coffee perculator, 2500 watt inverter, blu tooth on the wheel, hell these days you even get a half assed decent mattress. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Last week i delivered in Miami, ran up to Georgia and Sth Carolina to pick up and then home thru Va, W VA, PA and NY. Nice weather for the most part.

This week I am in Salt Lake City to deliver tomorrow morn. Here was just west of Cheyenne WY this morning, wonderful ....



And here is a statue of good Ole Abe. Must be cold in his old age.



Fortunately it cleared up after the next 100 miles.
 

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Wow! Good topic!

I have a funny story about a 'dumb trucker' if you don't mind (though I've found the majority of truck drivers to be the best drivers on the road.)

I was on I-44 west of St.Louis going through some construction. I'm doing 45, the construction speed limit. It's been restricted to one lane with barriers on each side, it's pouring down rain, I'm doing 45, I don't care what you say. And yeah, the guys were out there working (Who knows why... in the rain..) I look up in my rear view mirror and I see a man in a blue denim shirt, beard, wearing a black watch. Wanna know how I know all that? HE WAS SO CLOSE I COULDN'T EVEN SEE HIS HEADLIGHTS. I tapped the brake lights, then I heard the turbos spool as he hit the horn and pulled up closer (I SWEAR he tapped my bumper, but I wasn't sure). So after a few minutes, I slowed down to about 30 (by the time we got to where the guys were working, I wasn't gonna let this idiot slaughter them all). After we got past them I sped up to about 50. Still on my tail.

Then I got an idea >:). This was no independent contractor, it was a company truck. He even had his companies logo on his shirt! So I also happened to have my camera in my passenger seat. I turned it on, made it obvious I was taking a picture of my rear view mirror.

I've NEVER seen a truck stop so fast. White smoke, locked them up, the WHOLE nine yards. After that he followed me at about 35 car lengths. HAHAHA. Seems like I wasn't the only one who thought it was a silly reason to lose a job. I took the picture in case there was an accident, but I never 'sent it in' or anything. I sure hope he got the message.

But anyway, aside from THAT guy, you guys have it rough! I've seen these idiots do exactly what you describe, it's AMAZING you all stay so safe. Hope you all STAY that way! Lost a good friend on a truck not too long ago.

-John
 

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Snow. Nooooo!

dang the pictures with the snow does not sit well, means it's on it's way here. not looking forward to that. drive safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow! Good topic!

I have a funny story about a 'dumb trucker' if you don't mind (though I've found the majority of truck drivers to be the best drivers on the road.)

I was on I-44 west of St.Louis going through some construction. I'm doing 45, the construction speed limit. It's been restricted to one lane with barriers on each side, it's pouring down rain, I'm doing 45, I don't care what you say. And yeah, the guys were out there working (Who knows why... in the rain..) I look up in my rear view mirror and I see a man in a blue denim shirt, beard, wearing a black watch. Wanna know how I know all that? HE WAS SO CLOSE I COULDN'T EVEN SEE HIS HEADLIGHTS. I tapped the brake lights, then I heard the turbos spool as he hit the horn and pulled up closer (I SWEAR he tapped my bumper, but I wasn't sure). So after a few minutes, I slowed down to about 30 (by the time we got to where the guys were working, I wasn't gonna let this idiot slaughter them all). After we got past them I sped up to about 50. Still on my tail.

Then I got an idea >:). This was no independent contractor, it was a company truck. He even had his companies logo on his shirt! So I also happened to have my camera in my passenger seat. I turned it on, made it obvious I was taking a picture of my rear view mirror.

I've NEVER seen a truck stop so fast. White smoke, locked them up, the WHOLE nine yards. After that he followed me at about 35 car lengths. HAHAHA. Seems like I wasn't the only one who thought it was a silly reason to lose a job. I took the picture in case there was an accident, but I never 'sent it in' or anything. I sure hope he got the message.

But anyway, aside from THAT guy, you guys have it rough! I've seen these idiots do exactly what you describe, it's AMAZING you all stay so safe. Hope you all STAY that way! Lost a good friend on a truck not too long ago.

-John
If you ever call the company, make sure you get the unit numbers on the side of the tractor, it just burns my ass seeing drivers try to intimidate four wheelers with there size. I have called trucking companies before and also the state patrol.

These guys are supposed to be professionals, it does not matter who is right and who is wrong, in road rage, nobody wins. My truck is governed at 62 mph (100 kph). I usually drive team ( one drives, one sleeps) and we cover 2230 kms per day including 2 driver changes and fuel ups. The same 75 mph trucks will pass me 4 to 5 times during an 11 hour shift.

If their in that much of a hurry, they should have left earlier.
 

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If their in that much of a hurry, they should have left earlier.
You got THAT right. I guess I should of called anyway, but I was so stunned by his reaction to having his picture taken LOL.

I have to agree, you know, there is a certain responsibility that comes from driving something so large, heavy and dangerous, that has limited braking power and slower reaction. There is a REASON you guys need special training and licenses to drive 'em!

Same with cars though- they are very dangerous in the hands of distracted, lazy drivers. I just don't think folks realize the dangers they are putting themselves and others in when they follow closely/text/speed, etc.

-John
 

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Thank You Brother for your post. With 2,000,000+ accident free miles under my belt when I retired I too can attest how unsafe the road is. The cagers are for the most part untrained and uneducated and it's only getting worse. It's the "professional" driver that burns my buns. I like you have seen some of the worst driving out of the steering wheel holders---not drivers. These for the most part are the "cb rambos" who if you call their driving into question, always want to fight. They need to be REPORTED!!!!!! One idiot like that makes all of us look bad, he/she is the one everybody remembers!! Thanks again and stay safe out there, from an old retire owner/operater who's pulled his last mile----SAFELY!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
These for the most part are the "CB rambos" who if you call their driving into question, always want to fight. They need to be REPORTED!!!!!!
Absolutely, with out question. Fortunately i don't have to listen to them, my CB radio is never on. Probably the same guys talking the same crap.

One idiot like that makes all of us look bad, he/she is the one everybody remembers
The problem is .. you can teach anyone to drive a truck .. what you cant teach is commonsense.

Driving is all about risk removal or reduction, its just unfortunate that stupidity or arrogance of some can cause some really dire consequences.
 

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I'm solidly in the camp that sees truck drivers (18-wheelers, not local-yokels because I've known too many of them) as some of the few professional drivers on the roads, while it's the people that bitch and worry about them (like those who get up beside, or just caddy-corner behind, them and are afraid to pass) that I am worried about whether driving my truck or my bike.

And I've never understood the "buffeting" fear some riders complain about. I've never really felt anything coming off of a semi, save for those coming the opposite direction on a fast two-lane road, that would give cause for concern to any motorcyclist who knows how to ride.

I've even read stories of riders who felt "TRAPPED!!! OMG!!!" in the backwash of a semi where they were afraid to even slow down to back out of it... lol... I mean, come on people...

On the flip-side, I drove a Peterbuilt with flatbed, once, for three miles and had a ball (the transmission, however, didn't think much of my driving), but I can see how they could be a handful in a lot of situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Most of the "wash" is caused off the front of the truck ... 50% of the power is used to move the load and 50% is used to move the air. Different trucks have different "wash" characteristics. These days they are a lot more aerodynamic and trailers are getting that way as well . There are different types of trailer skirts that will also produce different aero effects.

It goes with out saying that different bikes will react differently as well, whether you are passing or being passed, in front or behind.

A couple of years ago i was riding a old Honda CX500 silverwing and got passed at 60 mph, the air hit the fairing on the bike and actually sucked me in towards the trailer. My 900 classic when pulling my trailer reacts around 175 ft behind a T/T and starts wiggling, less or more distance its stable.

I ain't Dale Ernhardt and i cant see the air, i just know its there and try to prepare for it.
 
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