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Discussion Starter #1
Often when passing a big rig, I get parallel to the cab and suddenly he hits his air brakes. Is this a greeting?

When I'm in the passing lane and come up on two rigs in right hand lane, the rig behind the other will suddenly switch to the passing lane forcing me to slow down to, sometimes, 10 miles below the posted speed limit. Is this on purpose?
 

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My guess...they probably aren't hitting the air brakes. You probably heard the moisture blow off valve in the air lines.
My guess for the second part of the question is carelessness, or ignorance. Hopefully its just a brain fart, we all make mistakes. I would doubt it's done on purpose because there would be no point in it.
 

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Often when passing a big rig, I get parallel to the cab and suddenly he hits his air brakes. Is this a greeting?

When I'm in the passing lane and come up on two rigs in right hand lane, the rig behind the other will suddenly switch to the passing lane forcing me to slow down to, sometimes, 10 miles below the posted speed limit. Is this on purpose?
On the air brake sound, what you hear may not be the rig’s brakes. Could be the sound of an over-pressure valve letting off some pressure. It has been a half century since I drove a rig, but I seem to remember that sound periodically w/o applying the brakes.

On purposely slowing you down, you’d have to ask the driver. Just maybe he’s had a couple bad experiences with bikers and views them as hard to see pests. Maybe the rig in front is doing 1 to 2 mph slower than he wants to cruise and he’s just slow in passing, which is most likely the case.

In any event, the truckers are out there on the road trying to make a living while we’re out there just for pleasure. I try to remember that and make life as easy on them as I can. That means making myself as visible as possible and putting as much distance away from them as possible, as quick as possible. And that’s not just for their benefit. :)
 

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Air pressure blow off. An automatic function of the air system....

I you cannot see the trucks mirrors, he cannot see you at all. So don't blame bad driving on a truck driver when some of the problem is yourself... BUt trucks try to beat upcoming cars just like cage drivers do. They just do not have the ability to go faster while doing it. I am sure the same has happened to you while in a cage going down the highway....

Get far enough over whichever side so you see the truck driver or mirrors. NEVER ride behind a truck in the center up close. Then when he does something stupid... which they do.... I zip up the the drivers side and give him the finger and fist.... but that's just me....

I am not defending truck drivers cause I am not wild about them either.
 

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Most rigs on the hwy are company trucks which means that the engine speed is governed to about 65 mph more or less. When one of these rigs is passing another it takes a little longer. And don't get caught in an incline, the heavier rig's speed will drop dramatically.
 

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Often when passing a big rig, I get parallel to the cab and suddenly he hits his air brakes. Is this a greeting?



When I'm in the passing lane and come up on two rigs in right hand lane, the rig behind the other will suddenly switch to the passing lane forcing me to slow down to, sometimes, 10 miles below the posted speed limit. Is this on purpose?

1) No. ptssss sound you hear is just air compressor reached the max pressure. If he slows down for you, perhaps he wants you to pass him quicker. But it is not a greeting.

2) No. It is very hard to see bike behind big rig. Just because you see his mirror doesn't mean he see you.

Company trucks are castrated at 65mph, some at 63mph. Owner Operator trucks, not leased to large corporations can do 90 or 100.

So you will se "Swift" going 65 passing JBHunt that is going 63.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses. On being seen, I was in the passing lane, not behind the rig. Also it happens when I am cage driving. I drive 2-3 hours of interstate a day and it happens at least 3 times a day.

Two more Road Rules questions:

1. Why move over for incoming ramp traffic when the move slows down the passing lane.

2. When three lanes are converging to two (or two to one), is it fair game to travel down as far as you can before moving over?
 

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1) be curious to others on the road, they may return the favor.

2) This only adds to congestion. Would be better if all merge smoothly before it is too late. But there is always an ace that tries to get in in last moment
 

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Two more Road Rules questions:

1. Why move over for incoming ramp traffic when the move slows down the passing lane.
Because people only care about themselves and not about how they impact others.

2. When three lanes are converging to two (or two to one), is it fair game to travel down as far as you can before moving over?
No. This makes you a jerk. See the above answer though.
 

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I'd echo everything everyone else has said about the blow off valves. When the pressure gets a bit high in the air system, it blasts a little bit out to keep the pressure regulated. Nothing to worry about.

I do know that many companies/manufacturers have governors on their rigs too. I used to drive school and charter buses in college and whenever I'd go on an interstate trip, I'd literally drop my foot on the floor for hours on end and was bouncing off of the governor the whole trip while still being passed all the time. Hills didn't help either.

I generally generally move over just as a courteous gesture. Plus, it also reduces the risk of them running into me should they decide to not check their blind spot, or if there is an obstruction on a short entrance ramp like a bridge rail or something.

Technically yes, but I always want to lay down a spike strip for people who do that because they're ultimately cutting everyone else in line. That significantly worsens traffic jams too. If everyone waits until the last second to get in the correct lane, everyone will be stopped trying to squeeze into holes that just aren't there and everyone will be stuck. Conversely, if everyone would make the effort to file into the correct lane before absolutely necessary, there would be no bottle neck and traffic would flow much quicker and smoother when the lane ends.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you are going to move over to let the people in from the incoming ramp, be sure there is no one coming up in the passing lane. Cut off an unmarked car will get you a "Failure to yield right of way" ticket.

Just FYI.
 

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Many trucks on the road are governed and even if they aren't, they only have so much torque. That's a lot of weight back there.

A pet peeve of mine is two trucks trying to pass each other up a steep hill. Over the weekend I got behind two and we got all the way down to 35mph on a 70mph stretch of interstate. I'm not a trucker, but sometimes, I swear it's because they don't want to turn their cruise control off. If they don't have enough power to pass the other truck, then there's no way the other truck is slowing them down. Then once in a while you see trucks jockeying each other. I generally have my cruise set on the interstate, and it's a little hilly where I live. Sometimes, in my car, I'll have my cruise set to 70 (manual transmission so it holds 70 up and down hills. Doesn't build speed going down a hill like an automatic with a torque converter) and have the same truck fly by me downhill, then I'll end up needing to pass him up the next hill. I usually just bump my speed up to a bout 80 up the next hill to put enough distance up. That's annoying but probably as simple as him not wanting to use his brakes going down those hills. Additional wear and tear, and even heat which can cause fires (there were a few bad fires in the news lately likely caused by overheated brakes!)

It just is what it is. Look out. Most truckers are safe drivers. Some bad ones. Just like anyone else in any other vehicle. Give them plenty of room and they'll probably return the favor. And the biggest thing, with ANY vehicle, is to think ahead. If there's a big rig coming up on another vehicle looking like they are about to run it over (whether it's another rig, granny in a buick, whatever), just anticipate that he's probably going to change lanes. Same for any other vehicle coming up on a vehicle in front of them. And just assume they are going to change lanes without looking or signaling until you see otherwise.
 

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I am a software engineer since 1996. But when economy got bad in 2003 I took a brake from the cubicle and went out driving big trucks for 5 years. So I know something about it. From 2003 to 2005 I was a company driver and 2005 to 2008 as an Owner Operator. Over half of million miles in a semi truck. In 2008 I went back to software industry to work as programmer because trucking was no longer financially advantageous business for me.

So I can tell you the following:

Companies such as Swift, Warner Enterprises, CR England, JB Hunt, Swift, Prime, etc, the large corporations, have training programs. This means that after three weeks of school the new rookies go to those companies for the next 6 month training. They drive as trainees, and they do not know what they are doing. Generally for the first 2 weeks of training the trainer sits next to the rookie driver riding shotgun, but after that the trainer is sleeping in the back and the rookie is on his own. After the 6 month, if rookie did not die or got fired he get's his own rig and drives on his own.

Watch for those companies on the road. Chances are rookie will do something really dumb, not because he is an ass, but because he does not know any better. An independent owner operator is generally a much better driver. A) he survived on the road long enough to get his own rig. B) That rig with a temperature controlled trailer costs around quarter of a million dollars. (the good one anyway). C) They pay for their own truck insurance, bob-tail insurance, cargo insurance, IFTA, highway tax and transportation authority. A lot more responsibility. Company drivers, some are very good, others not so much, and some are rookies that are not going to make it at all.

A normal shift for a driver is 14 hours. With 10 hours on the road. In the early hours of the morning all drivers are spaced out and less alert.

On the up-hill they are not riding on cruise control. As you climb a hill you will have to drop three gears or so in order to keep moving, but because there is so much wight on the back and because the RPM power band on those tracks are between 1200 and 2000 RPM they want to keep it in power bend. Generally good driver will not pass on uphill unless he is delivering dispatcher's brains (running empty), but there are those who are "competitive" and will push every bit they can out of their trucks even if it means blocking left lane. They do it to keep in power bend and maintain momentum. You burn one gallon of fuel per mile going up hill.

In some states we have dual speed limits. The worst is my home state of California where trucks are limited by law to 55 mph while cars can do 75. That is 20 miles difference. A big difference. Try running at 20 miles per hour heard first in to concrete wall, you will know what I mean. Also in those states trucks are forced in right two lanes. This causes cagers to slalom through the trucks and the roads are in the end much more dangerous. In states where speed limit is the same for all the traffic moves a lot smoother and less accidents involving trucks. Dual speed-limits generate revenue for the state. Be especially careful in those states when riding on a highway.

So you see a trucker, let him go. Do not be a cock. Look around you. Everything you see was brought to you by a trucker driver. You are maneuverable, he is not. Put yourself in his shoes next time you flip him a bird.
 

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Put yourself in his shoes next time you flip him a bird.
When he is driving like a "cock".... he deserves it, like any other truck/cage/scoot driver on the road.... bad driving is not limited to truckers....
 

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Trucker will not see you. Most likely. You are a such a small speck on his mirror. See and avoid him. Besides. He is working there. You are having fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Everything you see was brought to you by a trucker driver.
Doesn't give them the right to drive like a jerk. I work just as hard for my money and have just as much right to the road as he does.
 

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Because people only care about themselves and not about how they impact others. No. This makes you a jerk. See the above answer though.
actually the proper way to blend merging traffic is at the point where the two lane lines cease.. Both lanes are fully operational till that point and drivers should be aware and make room in front of them to allow vehicles from each lane to FOLD into one like a deck of cards.. that is the Proper way and Legal way to Merge two lanes into one..

what happens is people Freak out and jump into the continuing lane Too Early and cause that lane to Jam Up while the abandoned lane is left empty sometimes a whole miles worth. Then those who know better stay in the open lane and ride it to the end where they are now FORCED to merge with Angry motorist, some that will make all kinds of JERK moves to stop the flow in the open lane.. they are the Real Jerks..

most often the reason the Jammed up lane is stop/slow is everybody trying to get over Too Early causing others to Brake. this sets up a Standing Wave of Slow-Stop traffic that has no reason to exist, But Everybody puts on the brakes and slows/stops because the ones in front did and so they do and yet there is NO condition for this Standing Wave to Exist, yet it does and it Persist until enough motorist leave ample room in front and Don't touch their brake lights causing others behind to do the same.. poncho
 

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Discussion Starter #18
actually the proper way to blend merging traffic is at the point where the two lane lines cease.. Both lanes are fully operational till that point and drivers should be aware and make room in front of them to allow vehicles from each lane to FOLD into one like a deck of cards.. that is the Proper way and Legal way to Merge to lanes into one..
I agree with this take. If you have say 100 cars all in one lane, traffic is backed up much further than two lanes of 50.
 

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Doesn't give them the right to drive like a jerk. I work just as hard for my money and have just as much right to the road as he does.
Yep. I'm all for being courteous, giving them plenty of room, etc. But we need to share the road.

There's a road near me where dump trucks pretty frequently roll on and are often over the line, sometimes well over. They can make it just fine if they slow down. Several of them do! (Slow down and make the corners) They don't all though. They just roll 55+ and fly around the corners. At worst I've seen them STRADDLE the line coming around a blind corner. When folks have complained excuses have been "Well the trucks are too big", or "They are on a tight schedule" and, of course, the quintessential "Everything you have was brought by a truck". But there's simply no reason not to demand something as simple as them staying in their lane, even if that means they have to slow down a bit to make the sharp curves; or find an alternative route. Injuring or killing people, damaging property, etc., is not worth whatever junk they are hauling.

I very rarely have issues with truckers. Almost all the truckers I see are the safest, most courteous, most "by the book" drivers. But there are a few bad apples. And "They deliver everything" isn't an excuse at all. Those are good excuses for why they can't always do the speed limit and sometimes we have to be slowed down a bit behind one. Those are good excuses for why a heavily laden truck can take an entire green light cycle, not letting you through. That stuff is inconvenient but it is what it is. They are providing an essential service. When you start talking about driving in the wrong lane, changing lanes without looking, failing to signal, following too closely; the excuses go out the window and you're just an unsafe driver who needs to find a new occupation.

Last year, or maybe two years ago, I was sitting at a stop sign behind this woman in a minivan. Amazingly, she was BEHIND the white stop line (that doesn't always happen!). This truck was rolling through the adjacent road and made a sudden turn our direction, no signal. He was turning onto the road we are on, turning left. As he made the wide left turn, his trailer plowed right into her front end. I had a car behind me too that wouldn't budge so I couldn't move. She was shoved into me. The driver got out spitting fire, talking about how trucks make wide turns and we should give him room. If he had signaled, slowed down, we probably would've thought "Oh this idiot didn't plan this turn well enough" and backed up. But no opportunity for that was given. The truth is, he probably had no idea where the rest of his truck was and was making the turn just like he would in his car. Naturally, the police were less impressed with his excuse. And indeed, he used the default "I bring everything you have" excuse. My car didn't have any damage, miraculously (she just kind of 'tapped' me, he wasn't going very fast). Her car had a pretty good amount of front end damage. Before the police showed up, the driver behind me called his companies safety department to fill them in on what was going on. He REALLY didn't appreciate that. :pig:

There were several ways to get where he was going that didn't involve a tight turn he couldn't make. And, alternatively, he could do what all the other trucks do. Make the turn really late, then kind of 'come back to it'. It's crossing a four lane road so when there's no traffic, turn left way late, then come back right (if that makes sense) and kind of snake in there. Trucks do it all the time and it's never a problem when cars are stopped at the intersection.
 

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I drove school buses and charter style buses for a couple years as a college job and would pretty much echo everything Don and Romans have said.

In all fairness, a trucker does pay a LOT more fuel tax than a biker or a car does, so from that standpoint, he does have more invested into the road than you do. It doesn't give them an excuse to drive like a butt head though and it certainly doesn't give you any reason to get a pissy at all of them since the majority of them are pretty solid drivers. If you're a sketchy truck driver, you won't last long. At my company, their official policy was that if you got one ticket, you were fired.

Either way, keep in mind that in an accident, the big guy always wins. Once, I was driving a school bus full of little guys home from school. I was sitting at a red light in the right lane of a double left turn lane with my blinkers on and everything. The light turned red, so I took off and started to make my left turn. A middle aged dude with a college aged chick riding shotgun in a nice pickup thought it would be a brilliant idea to fly around me on the left side and cut around me in the middle of my turn to go straight through the intersection. I honestly don't even know how he got that much speed, but he was booking it pretty good. Anyways, he didn't make it. The right side of his truck was absolutely creamed by my bus's front bumper. His truck was just wasted on the right side. Mangled doors, broken glass, hood and quarter panels were completely jacked, the bed was all dented up, running boards were trashed, and my mirror even got his roof. I have no doubt his truck was completely totaled. Damage to my bus? A bent bumper and broken headlight lens. Even if a trucker is driving like a stoned elephant, don't get into a road squabble about it. You will lose.
 
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