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LostInParadise's avatar

Do you avoid driving behind large vehicles?

Asked by LostInParadise (18322 points ) July 25th, 2014

No offense to any of you who drive vans, pickup trucks or trailer trucks, but I feel claustrophobic if I can’t see the two vehicles in front of me. About half the traffic seems to be larger vehicles, and I think that there is a tendency for other passenger car drivers to avoid being behind them. If I did not pass the vans and trucks, I am pretty sure I would end up behind one for most of the trip.

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58 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yes. I try to avoid anything that limits my field of vision – to keep myself and other drivers safe.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s not so much for the view that I avoid it. It’s the debris.

So many truck drivers buy cheap retread tires which eventually blow up, or the tread separates from the core of the tire and goes flying. I had a windshield broken once by one of these. So I try and stay back a couple hundred feet or more, just in case some tire goes airborn.

The other worry I have is that long distance truckers have so much crap in their cab (computer, CB, cell phone, Qualcomm tracker, etc.) that half the time they are playing on a keyboard and not watching the road.

Nothing worse than a trucker who floats into my lane because he is surfing the internet.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I pass slow drivers, regardless of what type of vehicle they’re driving. I drive a Nissan Versa, a pretty small car. I live in South Carolina, so avoiding being behind trucks, vans, SUVs, etc. would be nearly impossible – that’s basically all people drive down here. And unless the truck is jacked up, my field of vision is just fine.

I prefer not to be behind an 18-wheeler or a vehicle that’s pulling a trailer, though. Bigger trucks make my car feel like we’ve got 80mph winds outside and trailers make me nervous for some reason. When I’m driving my husbands truck, I don’t really care who’s in front of me, as long as they’re going at a sufficient speed.

Also, like @elbanditoroso said, if there’s any debris flying about, I’m getting out of the way.

Pachy's avatar

I try to avoid being anywhere near over-sized vehicles, although here in Austin it’s really hard to avoid them. I dislike them because they slow traffic, obstruct the view and throw up rocks. (I’ve never understood how motorcyclists avoid getting smacked in the face by road debris.)

CWMcCall's avatar

I am quite comfortable with this.

filmfann's avatar

I usually give them a large space cushion, so I can see more.

Khajuria9's avatar

No, I am fine with them!

Seaofclouds's avatar

I avoid driving behind tractor trailers because I like being able to see what’s ahead of the vehicle in front of me and I can’t see around those.

shego's avatar

I don’t really avoid being around trucks, however I usually try to avoid vehicles with a lot of junk in their trailer. I guess you could say I asses the situation before I make a move just in that case. I have been in a car when a trailer tipped over dropping all the junk it.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

You have selected a vehicle that does not impart control through tactile feedback, driving position, combined seat and belt support, visibility, ergonomics, etc.

It likely has a poor thrust to mass ratio, braking to mass ratio and properly low center of mass.

These problems combine to give the driver a feeling of detachment from the road surface as well as separation from visual cues and quick but linear and predictable response.

Proper amounts of control and feedback are not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong but the more information and control you have at your disposal the more likely it is that you can avoid a problem.

Keep safe distances but your chosen vehicle itself is the main source of your anxiety.

cookieman's avatar

Yes, particularly construction vehicles and tractor-trailers.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I don’t like any vehicle being in front of me on the road, but if it is unavoidable I will always choose a regular car over a large vehicle. My car is quite low to the ground, so I don’t have a hope of seeing around an SUV or the like. There is also something of a chance that they won’t be able to see me.

I remember when I was a kid, I could look through the rear windows of the cars in front at the traffic lights, and see when the first one in a long queue started to move without looking around the cars. But now the horrid SUV craze has taken hold, it is rare to see past two cars. I wish SUVs would be banished to rural areas, where they were originally designed to be used.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Absolutely hate not being able to see what’s coming up.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I too can’t tolerate not being able to see ahead, and will seek to pass whatever obstructs my view at the earliest opportunity.

majorrich's avatar

I prefer any accidents to occur behind me, so I pass whenever practical. (Dad burned auto correct)

ucme's avatar

Ever since I watched Duel.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

A number of comments here mention visibility’s effect on confidence.

I suggest a low ride height. low cowl, sloping hood, slender A pillars and sideview mirrors on a stalk to maximize visibility of that median cap apex.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What was the name of that 70’s movie with…um…that one guy and and an evil truck driver was out to get him? Dennis….somebody.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Dennis Weaver in the aforementioned Duel by Steven Spielberg.

This time Spielberg killed a truck.

RocketGuy's avatar

In heavy traffic, trucks move a little faster than cars in surrounding lanes. I think it is because they leave more space in front of them, so don’t have stop-and-go like cars. They also push the air in front of them, so drafting behind them will increase your MPG. Trucks, in good shape, also take longer to stop so you don’t have to worry about one making sudden stops when you are tailgating one. So when traffic is heavy I often make it a point to drive behind a big truck.

ucme's avatar

<bangs head on desk>
@SecondHandStoke Cheers, still one of my fave movies.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ucme A classic. Love it!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I have been a truck driver for over twenty five years,and what gets me wanting to simply run over the stupid little car drivers is when they do an unsafe illegal pass then park their dumb ass in front of me driving 5 to 10mph slower than I was going.
I have no problem with cars passing me for whatever reason but do so safely, then I will say this nicely FUCKOFF don’t sit right in front of me,unless you want to take the chance of a 82foot 63.5 tonn, 30 wheel big truck coming though your rear window.
Now here is a secret 63.5 tonns doesn’t stop on a dime,so the next time think about it and go away!

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yep, I feel safer already.

jerv's avatar

I do, but that is partly because my car is notably lighter than most cars on the road (even the Mini Cooper is ~400 pounds heavier) while being a bit larger and boxier. Accordingly, I tend to get blown around a bit, and such vehicles have a noticeable effect on my handling.

The other thing is that, on the interstate, I tend to be going faster than them anyways. I may not have great acceleration, but I can hold speed better on hills and especially corners.

So, basically, it’s a desire to not be behind a variable-speed obstruction that shakes my car when I could be constant-cruising without the shimmying and shaking.

@SecondHandStoke Detachment from the road is an asset in today’s market. Who wants to feel bumps, or even be reminded that they are moving when you have overstuffed seats and in-dash video screens? People don’t want to drive, they just want to get from point A to point B in comfort. Things like tactile feedback detract from comfort and therefore must be dampened down enough to be ignored.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@jerv The degrees of isolation possible in cars makes for a false sense of security.

As one engineer once put it “There shouldn’t be an airbag in front of you, there should be a sharp spike.”

Regarding “bumps”: I paid for the road. I want to feel as much of it as possible.

Coloma's avatar

I try to avoid trailing motor homes, school buses, semis and the worst over the years up in areas where I have lived in the Sierra foothills, getting behind huge logging trucks fully loaded.
I do not trust those chains to hold about 10 tons of trees.
I always stay waaaay back. I can envision the chains breaking and about 40 behemoth trees rolling onto me. haha

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@jerv Some people don’t want to drive. Some of us are still enthusiasts though, and would rather walk than drive around in a sensory deprivation tank.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh “Some people don’t want to drive…” That explains why some people get right up on your butt and say there. They don’t want to have to make any decisions.

@RocketGuy I rarely disagree with you, but I wouldn’t sit behind a truck for the simple reason that I can not see what’s coming up. They may not be able to stop as fast, but it doesn’t mean you won’t become part of the collateral damage that the trucker may find themselves in, and which you aren’t expecting, simply because you can’t see the road ahead. It’s kind of like driving with your eyes closed in a way.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

When it comes to forward visibility in traffic am I the only one reading cues from drivers ahead of me in other lanes?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Dutchess_III Either that or they’ve already made a poor decision.

@SecondHandStoke You’re not alone, but that information is not sufficient in some circumstances. One cannot always trust the reactions of other drivers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right. And you’re part of that poor decision.

I do it too @SecondHandStoke. Hubs doesn’t tho. I see so much stuff getting ready to happen before it does, and it always takes him by surprise.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ha ha! One time my ex and I (before he was my ex) were on a 6 lane. I said, “The guy ahead of us in the left lane is getting ready to move into our lane.”
Just then the guy did just that. My ex goes, “How did you know he was going to do that?”
I said, “Cuz he was checking all of his mirrors and stuff. Just his body language. Plus he had his blinker on.” LOL!!

Coloma's avatar

www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/hank_rabe/2008/09-05/270.jpg

Here’s a monster….man, lets follow this big fella on a 60% uphill grade, or, be the leader of the death parade on the downhill. What’s worse, being dumped on from behind or plowed over when in front. haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

Git the hell away from him!!

majorrich's avatar

If I’m driving my old car, I have no choice but to fall behind slower traffic. It will go no faster than 75 without being scary.

jerv's avatar

I don’t exactly read cues from other drivers; I plan for the stupidest thing they’re likely to do and just wait to see if it actually happens. It often does.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Coloma You do realize that is an off highway truck only,you wont see him on the highway venture off road and up a logging road you might see him, but thats it.

Coloma's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Well…sure looks like a lot of monsters I have been behind.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I found an old shot of me and my truck on that site, this is me….
http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/bc_trucks/2004/may19/dsc_0644.jpg

SQUEEKY2's avatar

That was 4 trucks ago, but I do drive for the same company^^^^^

jerv's avatar

@Coloma Those trucks really aren’t made for the highway though. Look at the tires, Look at the gearing. Look at the suspension. Look at the size, the load, and the way it’s restrained. Even if that thing were legal for highway use, it wouldn’t be economically feasible to do so, nor would it be a good ride.
No, what you saw/see is probably ore like this, Note that that one is actually narrow enough to fit within a standard lane, the load isn’t stacked above the side-stakes, and the tires can actually roll on concrete at highway speeds without shaking the load off the back, or vibrating the truck to pieces.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Have truckers seemed to have deteriorated in their driving the last few years? Truckers used to be the ones I counted on to always do the right thing, but in the last 10 years I’ve had two sets of truckers, pulling THREE trailers, playing games with me. My husband had a trucker who got pissed and was riding his ass, then passed, then slammed on his brakes (Rick called it in and he was arrested because he’d done the same thing to some other people.)

SQUEEKY2's avatar

There are bad Apples in every bunch, as trucker for the most part if we see one of us doing something totally illegal or unsafe we will report them ourselves.
Now with that said for the most part the driving public is totally clueless, of what we have to go through on our work day, we timetables to keep, loads to get on and off, dispatchers wanting more and more, while expecting us to stay within our legal operating hours, D.O.T breathing down our necks, so yes some stay way beyond the burnout phase, and joe blow public wanting to be in front of the big truck at all costs , to then realizing he/she doesn’t want to drive that fast so then proceeds to drive slower than the big truck was traveling that they had just passed, or pulling out or cutting us off just to get in front of us, so yes some have just burned out to how stupid joe blow public has become.
Now as part of the driving public realize this and give big trucks the room they need, and by all means if one is holding you back then pass him/her but then get going just don’t sit in front of the big truck,give truckers the room they need to operate their trucks safely,and there will be far less confrontations with big rigs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can understand. People don’t understand that trucks take time to get up to speed. I always lay back until the trucker’s speed levels out then decide whether or not to pass. Truckers generally try to go somewhat over the speed limit which is fast enough for anyone. It just takes them a long time to get there.

RocketGuy's avatar

I never cut in front of a big truck – they can’t brake on a dime, and if they get pissed off, they are much bigger than me. They have a difficult job already.

But to respond to @Dutchess_III – Having a good view of the road is always good, but one saving grace for following a truck is that if sh*t happens, they have enough size and momentum to clear the debris before I get to it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Depends on what they hit.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^^ Driving shouldn’t be difficult.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh

I wasn’t talking about driver’s reactions, I was talking about their actions.

majorrich's avatar

Do Trucks pulling multiple trailers brake in sequence from rear to front, or all at once? I assume backing them up would be like pushing a string..

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@majorrich at once, and you can only really back up the super train combo that I drive all other multiple trailer combos are almost impossible to back up.

majorrich's avatar

It would seem good to kind of stagger the application of brakes to keep the truck straight, but I imagine the logistics of making it happen would be difficult.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Don’t understand your comment “Driving shouldn’t be difficult.” in response to my comment “Depends on what they (the truck in front) hit.” Could you clarify?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@RocketGuy….what were all those weird beeps during that video?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@RocketGuy Uh it wasn’t the brakes that caused that accident,the rear wheels hit the cement wall on that bridge and stopped dead , then the truck pulled the beam off the rear wheels causing the whole thing to flip.

RocketGuy's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 – I guess you’re right. I was looking at the stopped traffic and assumed the truck driver slammed on his brakes.

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