Croc's Thoughts

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For as long as I have been driving a big-rig I have been aware of a common courtesy between drivers, that of flashing the other driver over. It is a simple procedure I think, a big-rig passes me and is trying to judge if he has passed me with enough clearance to pull in front. I flash my lights to let him know he is clear.

 

Most of us follow the time honored tradition which can also be accomplished on the CB Radio but these days with the amount of bad language and other trash on channel 19 I rarely turn mine on and doubt that many are listening anymore for the same reason, so I flash my lights and occasionally receive an acknowledgement from the appreciative driver who blinks his tail lights once or twice.

I consider myself a courteous driver, most of us on the big road are courteous and friendly. We wave at each other, we call on the radio if another truck is broken down on the shoulder, "Big Truck on the side, are you okay there?" Most often in this instance the other driver doesn't respond, he is probably on the phone to his company and all will be well. We flash each other in.

Today''s trucks have amenities that were not available back in the day. We ran with our lights on for safety, or we didn't, but today many trucks have "Day Lights" which are at 75% of normal brightness during the day and at night are full on as you might expect. Perhaps the Day Lights are the reason for the bright light flashing at night; you can't turn them off.

I have learned not to look directly at another truck after I have passed them at night. I look in my mirror to make sure I am safely past and can pull in front, then at the critical moment the other truck will often flash his lights on bright, temporarily blinding me! What the heck is that all about? We are all out here on the big road trying to be safe but for reasons that escape me, some drivers think it is okay to flash their bright lights right into the eyes of another driver who has just passed them!

STOP IT!!!

My Volvo is equipped with a button on the steering wheel which turns off the headlights when I press it; I use it often. I never ever flash my brights at a truck at night! Never! It is dangerous and I can''t for the life of me understand drivers that do it. If you can't turn off your lights to be helpful, don't do anything. Another button on my steering wheel lets me flash my trailer lights but when I press it the cab clearance lights also go out. I have passed some trucks who use this option instead of flashing their headlights. I am looking in my mirror and I see the other driver's cab clearance lights flash. Now I pull in front and don't have two large black spots dancing in my vision. Thank you driver, flash flash blink blink.

On other occasions I have passed a truck which doesn't do anything; no bright lights and no clearance lights. Now I make an assumption, he called me on the radio (which I am not listening to), he can''t flash anything without blinding me so has opted not to do anything or he doesn't give a hoot and didn't care to do anything. Even so I will pull in front in my own time and flash my tail lights by way of saying hello to a fellow professional.

A note to trainers and trucking schools: Please, educate your students in road etiquette. We all know that it is up to the passing driver to stay clear and pass safely but if your student is going to flash their lights, explain to them that blinding a driver who is about to move into the lane in front is not a good idea, is not safe and is not appreciated.

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Anyone who spends time on the road behind the wheel has time to think. Thinking can be dangerous. Well it is for me and it gets me into trouble more than I would wish.

That said, perhaps publishing my thoughts isn't a good idea; certainly these thoughts have caused more than one argument. Still, good idea or not, these are some of my thoughts.

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