4) If you’ve been cruising blithely along in the left (or center, on a three-lane highway) lane for a half-hour or so, please consider moving the fuck over, you selfish ass-pirate. “I pay taxes and I’ll drive wherever I want.” Well, fuck you, Einstein. This is illegal in most states, although many states don’t really enforce it much. Trucks usually can’t use the left lane on three-laners, which makes the center lane our passing lane, and the truck-lane restrictions ARE usually enforced – probably due to the fact that the fine for any ticket for a big rig is automatically double what it is for cars in most states. You’ll often see a truck jump over to the left lane in frustration after being trapped behind some semi-conscious droolcase doing the speed limit or below up and down hill after hill after hill. He’s risking a hefty fine, but he’s fed up enough to take the chance. Those “slower traffic keep right” signs were put there for more than just your reading enjoyment.Listen to this man. He's speaking for every professional driver on the road. The life you save may be your own.
(Related Corollary: If you’re going down a hill in the left lane and a truck pulls up on your bumper, do not be shocked and surprised. Just get over. The truck driver is worried about smoking his brakes. You probably think, “Oh, he’s being a bully and an asshole – I’ll show him!” If so, you are very stupid. Most likely he’s standing on the brake pedal with both feet, watching his brake air pressure drop and smelling that awful telltale smell that means his brake shoes are heating up to unsafe levels, mouthing the trucker’s mantra when faced with yet another obstinate bad driver: “Please stop, please stop, pleeeaaase stop…” Just get the hell over, okay?)
5) Contrary to popular perception, trucks don’t regularly haul ass down the road at amazing speeds. Don’t argue, it’s true, and there’s a reason for it: almost every truck owned by a trucking company has a governor on it which limits the speed at which the truck will go. Some are set pretty low – JB Hunt trucks used to be set at 63 mph, although I hear they’ve bumped it up some recently. Swift sets theirs at 65, which makes for some ribbing on the CB radio (“Swift, huh? No you’re not”). Most seem to be set between 70 and 75, which must make life hell for drivers who run in Texas and Montana. Of course you do see some trucks blazing along at 80-plus – these guys are owner-operators and can go as fast as they want. But as it happens, owner-operators are also almost always the most experienced and all-around best drivers out there, so it shouldn’t worry you all that much. And of course there are exceptions to that, just like anything else. But if you get stuck behind a truck who just simply won’t do the posted limit, chances are he’s just as unhappy about it as you are. But hey, his boss is saving a few cents per mile on diesel.
6) When they see you coming down an on-ramp, truckers will usually jump over to the left to allow you to easily merge onto the highway. (If he can – quite often, car drivers will see this as an opportunity to get around the truck and will come up his left side, boxing him in and allowing him no room to maneuver, thereby making it difficult for you to merge. And he usually can’t just slow down and let you on, because it takes a great deal of time and fuel to get back up to speed again and chances are he’s already got another four-wheeler riding his ass anyway. Grit your teeth, slow down, merge behind the truck, and blame your fellow four-wheeler for this one.) This is no small courtesy, because moving a large, inherently unstable vehicle from lane to lane always carries with it an element of danger and risk. So when a trucker lets you on in this manner, don’t just get beside him and cruise along matching his speed. If you do, you’ve just trapped him in the left lane, and he really doesn’t want to be there at all. Most likely there’s an uphill grade coming up which is going to slow him down to well below the posted limit. Next thing you know there’s a line of cars stuck behind the hapless trucker, shaking their fists and muttering about “those damn truck drivers,” when all the guy did was show a little courtesy to merging traffic – and all he really wants is to be able to get over and out of the way. Return the favor, slow down a little and let the guy back over. Everybody will be happier for it.