I know many of you will find this hard to believe, but I am a pretty easy going guy. I generally roll with the punches and you have to really go out of your way to get me worked up. Oh, it can be done – but it really has to be a goal. With that being said, someone sent me a video yesterday that got under my skin.
Now, this article is not going to discuss legal doctrine or offer advice. Instead, the purpose of this article is simply to implore us to all do a better job of sharing the road.
The video, recorded from the dash cam of a 4-wheeler, showed two trucks traveling side by side down the highway. The truck in the left lane is obviously trying to get around the truck in the right lane and has apparently been trying to complete the pass for some time. Unfortunately, it was having no luck. As a result, a “turtle race” ensues with the two trucks travelling side by side and blocking traffic.
I don’t know if the truck in the left lane lacked the power to get around the other vehicle or what exactly was going on but eventually the driver of the truck that was behind the two turtles ran out of patience and attempted to create its own passing lane - on the shoulder of the highway. However, this truck also struggles to pass.
For those of you keeping score at home, this means we now are running three CMVs wide down the highway. Two in the designated lanes and one on the shoulder. Unfortunately, nobody is able to complete the pass.
And to make matters more exciting, a 4-wheeler decides to move into the space previously occupied by the CMV that created its own passing lane on the shoulder. As you can imagine, this basically has the result of trapping the CMV on the shoulder. Thankfully, this driver eventually backed off.
Look, we all share the roads and need to be far more considerate of each other while driving.
To the driver in the left lane trying to pass: If you don’t have the power to pass or if you are governed too low don’t try to pass. You are blocking traffic and creating a dangerous situation. If you can’t get around, don’t try. I do not think being in front of or behind the other truck is going to make that big a difference on your arrival time.
To the driver in the right hand lane: Sometime you have to be the bigger person. If someone is trying to get around you when they may lack the ability – and they refuse to give it up – you may want to back off and let them over. I get that you feel that you did nothing wrong; however, sometimes you have to be the adult when those around you are acting like children. Give the other guy some room to get over. Again, I don’t think it will make that big a difference on when you arrive.
To the driver trying to pass on the shoulder: What. Are. You. Thinking. I understand that you are frustrated; however, the move to pass on the shoulder is just unacceptable. It is dangerous. You could drop a tire off the shoulder and roll the truck. You could over correct and come back into the CMV in the left lane which could impact the truck beside it and all the people behind it. You could die. Other people could die.
In addition, what if law enforcement saw this behavior – or the video went viral? You could count on receiving any number of citations, starting with reckless driving which would result in a big fine, potential jail time and based on the video possible suspension of your license. Even if enforcement never saw the video, what if your employer did. Do you think your employer could justify keeping you employed? To shippers? To insurance providers? To plaintiff’s counsel should you be involved in an accident? Either way, your driving career would effectively be over. Is it really worth it?
To the driver of the 4-wheller that snuck up behind: Seriously? What makes you think that was a good idea? By driving aggressively you have essentially taken away the other CMVs one means of getting out of the situation. I know you eventually backed off, but think about what you are doing prior to doing.
At the end of the day we all have to share the roads with each other. I also understand that some of us can be asses behind the wheel. However, that is why we all need to be more courteous than we think we need to be with each other. Not everyone will extend you the same courtesy but if the majority of us make it a point to be kind and considerate of each other on the road, the road will be a much safe place. Situations like this, which could have ended in multiple deaths, will be avoided. Everyone will get to their destination and go home to their family which should be the most important thing. I will now step down from my soap box. I promise not to get all preachy and judgmental again. Unless, of course, something gets under my skin.
Brad Klepper, Esq. is President of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm entirely dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. Interstate Trucker represents truck drivers throughout the forty-eight (48) states on both moving and non-moving violations. Brad is also Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at greatly discounted rates. Brad spent almost a decade with the largest law firm in Oklahoma where his practice included extensive experience in transactional law, business defense litigation, and intellectual property. In addition, Brad is a licensed architect and serves as General Counsel to the Oklahoma Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers. Brad has dedicated much of his time to DataQs challenges, which are challenges posed to the FMCSA for CSA incidents, to examine data and reports filed by law enforcement.
800-333-DRIVE (3748) or www.interstatetrucker.com