Driving a Truck is Different
My dad was a long-haul trucker and I spent many hours of my childhood in the passenger seat of his late-60's Mack watching him double-clutch his way through 13-gears operating the splitter like a seasoned pro with 70,000 pounds under his expert control. (more)
When I was about 17 we were at a rest stop out on a lonely stretch of road and my dad was tired. He needed rest but we had a deadline to meet so I jumped into the drivers seat and we took off... for about 5 feet. I missed 2nd gear. I stopped, started and missed 2nd gear again. Now I knew how drive a manual transmission but this was different. The range of rpm's on a truck is very narrow compared to a car. My dad told me to keep the rpm's between 900 and 1,300. Shift up at 1,300 and shift down at 800. It took me a few more attempts but within a few minutes I was driving down a deserted highway.
Height and Size
The first thing you realize when driving a truck is you sit in a very high position compared to passenger vehicles and SUV's. This gives the trucker excellent visibility over passenger vehicles. As a trucker you are trained to look down the road and be vigilant for slowing and merging traffic. You immediately realize the sheer size of mass involved in moving 70,000 pounds. Trucks are massive in size and stature.
The second thing you realize is driving a truck requires a lot more active involvement then driving a passenger vehicle. A big-rig takes up most of an entire lane. So you are constantly readjusting your line of travel in order to maintain proper lane position. Because of the width of your truck there is little margin for error.
Tractor-Trailers are Long
The third thing you realize is that the rear of your trailer is waaaaaay back there. At first its difficult to estimate distances because a following car may be 100' away but still be within 30' of your trailer. This makes it difficult in knowing when you can change lanes safely. However, with experience comes competence and you quickly become comfortable driving a 70' vehicle/trailer... as long as it's in a straight line.
Turning corners is a different story. A big-rig requires a lot of room to turn. Have you ever seen a big-rig take up two lanes when preparing to turn on a city street? That's because they need the space to turn truck with articulating trailer.
Backing up a big-rig requires a lot of skill. I remember at an early age my dad would comment every time he saw a trucker readjust his truck for a second try at backing when he should have been able to backup in a single move. Backing up into a small confined space without needlessly readjusting your truck is a sign of a true professional.
Hire an Attorney Who Has Driven a Truck
I got my commercial drivers license when I was 18 and maintained it until I went to law school. The experiences I had as a truck driver have helped me immensely in my career as a truck accident attorney.
Don't hire a general car accident personal injury attorney for your trucking case.
Think about it... would you hire a personal injury attorney who has never driven a car, to represent you in your car accident?
Driving a tractor-trailer is different and much more difficult then driving a car.
Let our experienced trucking accident attorneys help you. Call us today. The call and advice is free. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis which means our getting paid is "contingent" upon there being a settlement/verdict. So you only pay us after there has been a recovery. Call us at (844) 800-8900.