With 56% of car crashes being caused by aggressive driving, aggressive truckers are the deadliest traffic participants on the road. Just imagine the catastrophe an 80,000-pound vehicle can cause if the laws of physics trample on the truck driver’s driving skills. It is always a good idea to keep a safe distance from aggressive truckers so learn how to spot an aggressive trucker.
Why Do Truck Drivers Drive So Aggressively?
Trucking is not an easy job and with the growing deregulation of the industry and anti-union legislation, pay and work conditions for truckers have been badly affected. High levels of stress on the nation’s burgeoning highways also take a toll on truck drivers’ ability to remain patient. And reckless or plain stupid four-wheelers can only add more stress to the daily grind.
Here are some of the reasons truck drivers tend to drive aggressively:
1. Personality: Some truck drivers are just impatient by default so driving aggressively has become their second nature. What’s more, some truck drivers are immigrants born and raised in crowded places where aggressive driving was needed to get around. The likelihood of an impatient immigrant to be behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler has grown exponentially over the last decade due to the high turnover rates in the trucking industry.
Also, young males are more likely to drive more aggressively than their older counterparts. Every truck driver worth their salt can confirm that they did drove more aggressively when they were younger, but they mellowed out as years went by.
2. Lack of training: High driver turnover comes with another downside- fewer truck drivers receive the proper training to drive a big rig and even fewer have decades of experience to drive safely on the road. Many truck drivers are simply not professional drivers since anyone can now get their CDL and hit the road.
Truck drivers are also less likely to stick around for decades like they used to because of the lack of respect from other drivers and their employers and the meager pay (for many, $80,000 per year in such a high-risk, high-stress profession is simply not worth it.)
3. Frustration: Some truckers drive aggressively because they have stretched themselves too thin and almost nobody appreciates their efforts.Many of the drivers of passenger cars live with a sense of entitlement that the world owes them something and act recklessly around truckers which they may stereotype as fat, lazy, and stupid.
It is very hard to remain courteous when you have to deal with reckless drivers doing stupid or illegal things around you after being on the road for 13 hours straight. The frustration is so high among truck drivers that there were cases when they could have prevented an accident caused by a reckless passenger car driver, but they chose not to.
4. Psychopathic traits: Some truck drivers are downright psychopathic and have little to no consideration for human life on the road. Fortunately, this group is very small and usually doesn’t last long in the profession, but the damage they can inflict on the road can be catastrophic. That’s why it is best to keep a safe distance when you see a trucker driving aggressively – you might have the misfortune of witnessing one of these rare unicorns in action.
Signs of Aggressive Driving in Truckers
If you see one or several of these signs of aggressive diving in a truck driver, keep a safe distance. Aggressive drivers drive in an unsafe manner that might put their or other drivers lives at risk, but they usually don’t do it intentionally. Some truckers are not even aware of the fact that they drive aggressively.
An aggressive trucker is a driver that does one or more of the following things:
· Speeding regardless of speed limit and road conditions. Especially drivers running behind schedule are more likely to speed. Truckers that are afraid they might miss an exit or a turn might also be tempted to press the gas pedal more aggressively. Around 38% of all trucking accidents are caused by speeding and other poor driver decisions.
· Tailgating. Many truck drivers are engaged in tailgating on a daily basis. Tailgating and speeding are the two top causes of causing a crash. But while tailgating is a sign of aggressive driving, many truck drivers tailgate because they have no other option. Even if they keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them there will always be a car darting in the stopping distance to fill the gap.
· Careless lane changes. If you see a truck drifting over the lane lines like there’s no tomorrow, keep a safe distance. Eighteen-wheelers have a high center of gravity so it doesn’t take much for the vehicle to tip. Some truckers may even drift over the lane line putting at risk the vehicles in the opposite directions thinking that those vehicles should stay on the far right lane as a sign of courtesy. This attitude is both dangerous and rude.
· Road hogging. Yes, there are road hogs among truck drivers too. Some drivers just block other drivers from changing lanes so they will ride the lune to prevent the cars coming from behind from cutting them off. A road hog can keep you behind him for a couple of dozen miles at a time. And since their speed is capped, imagine the string of vehicles behind them.
· Failing to obey traffic signs. This one’s another sign of aggressive driving but it is the most benign of them all. Truckers usually run the red light to prevent collisions as the timing of traffic lights is not designed for a 70-ft long wheeler.
There are many reasons a truck driver may drive aggressively and just as many signs of aggressive driving in a trucker. Learning the signs can enable other motorists to engage in defensive driving and prevent needless accidents since when a trucking accident has already occurred only a truck accident lawyer can tip the scales in the victims’ favor.