Q I felt compelled to write you. There are three generations of truck drivers in my family, and I am very proud of what they do. They provide vital services to our communities. They build our roads, houses, and businesses and deliver gas, food, and other necessities that we use every day. They work incredibly hard and get little appreciation.
A Today is Big Rig Appreciation Day.
Q Many times I've watched these huge trucks try in vain to change lanes, or enter or exit the freeway, only to be cut off by drivers who speed up on purpose because they don't want to get caught behind them. This is both rude and dangerous.
Obviously, trucks can't maneuver as well as smaller cars, so they can easily lose control. Personally, I've gone out of my way to change lanes or slow down to let them in. They're just trying to do their jobs the best they can.
Like all professions, there are a few bad apples who drive aggressively or are discourteous. But since they have to maintain a certain level of safety or risk losing their license, I believe they tend to be better drivers than most.
So please, the next time you see a big rig trying to change lanes or enter a freeway, help them out a little; slow down and let them in. At worst, it will delay your getting to your destination by seconds. At best, you might just save someone's life.
A And ...
Q I just wanted to mention something we learned taking our first trip in my dad's 35-foot RV on Interstate 5 on the way to Disneyland. In the middle of the night truckers are very helpful. Whenever we needed to move over to the fast lane and pass a truck, they would flash their lights to let us know that we had plenty of room to pull back into the slow lane. What nice people! Thank you truckers!
A And ...
Q I would like to share some thoughts on horse trailers with your readers. They are big and bulky and a bit slower than most cars. They're not trying to get in the way, just getting to a destination like your readers. But here's the thing: Live animals are on board.
Here's what it might feel like to be inside that trailer: Imagine yourself at a school playground. You're on your knees in a little red wagon with your hands tied behind your back and a hat pulled down over your eyes so you can only see down. The wagon is being pulled by someone who loves you but can't see you while moving around the playground during recess. Uh-oh, someone just cut in front of you, causing your "driver" to swerve or stop quickly. How are you going to avoid falling or getting hurt? Since you can't use your hands or eyes for balance, you just have to trust your "driver."
My horse Jack is a tall, black, beautiful, trusting animal. Despite the risk of being banged around in there, he quietly climbs in the trailer so we can enjoy trails all over the Bay Area.
When you see us on the road, please remember the horses. Resist diving into that space in front of the truck. Jack could get hurt and never see it coming.
I promise to avoid commute hours, use my blinkers, stay to the right as much as possible and keep a safe distance from the guy in front. Please help us stay safe: Allow us a little room on the road. Thanks and happy trails!
A Happy trails indeed.
Q I drive home on Interstate 680 and pass the truck scales at the bottom of the Sunol Grade every night. More times than not, I see at least one trucker bypass the scales. Is there a penalty for this?
A Yes, but most likely these trucks are participating in the state's Prepass Program, where trucking companies are allowed to bypass the scales unless otherwise directed by the facility. Drivers carry a transponder, and if all requirements for weight, size, safety, etc., are met, they receive a green signal that allows them to bypass the weigh station.