Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Ask A Trucker: Flashing Lights and Secret Codes?

Welcome to the second installment of "Ask A Trucker," in which my cousin Chris (a truck driver) answers your questions about sharing the road with trucks. I am really enjoying this and encourage readers to send their questions to me via nogate at gmail.

Okay, let's go to the mailbag. 

Jason from Greeley, Colorado writes in with a two-fer:
Do truckers appreciate when regular car or truck drivers flash their lights at them to tell them it's safe to change lanes? I used to drive interstates long distances and would notice truckers doing this for each other when they passed each other and i started doing it as well.  I almost always get a kind on/off of the running lights by the drivers but have always wondered if they really need me to do it or not.
Second question.  Is there a secret trucker code after passing a big rig accident?  I was stuck up in Wyoming once after a nasty storm and when the highway finally opened up again we passed a bad wreck involving a semi.  For the next 10 miles the truckers on the road refused to let anyone pass them.  They took up both lanes and drove really slow.  If a car tried to get cute and use the shoulder of the road to pass they would block that too.  We all stayed single file for miles until they finally let us pass.
And here's Chris...

Before I start, I'd like to apologize for the delay in my response.  It's been a crazy couple of weeks because with the weather finally breaking there have been several demolition jobs starting up in New England and we've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  We have two questions this time around so let's get to it.

The first question is from a reader asking if we truckers appreciate when a regular car flashes their lights to let us back over.

When driving down the highway at night, it gets harder to gauge distances.  As a result, a driver will dim his headlights when another trucker passes them to signal that it is safe to move back over.  In response the passing truck will flash his marker lights to say "thank you" to the truck that they passed.

We do appreciate when a car does this because it is harder to see a car in comparison with another big truck.  But I must STRONGLY recommend that if you do this that you do a quick flash because high beams in the mirror hurt...a lot!

Second question:  is there a secret code among truckers in regards to a big truck crash.

This question had me stumped for awhile and I had no idea of how to answer until I had a conversation with a 41 year veteran of the road.  I told her of this concept and she thought it was great, and when I told her about this particular question, she jumped all over it and to be honest I was kind of surprised by the answer.

When there is a crash involving a big truck, once the road is opened back up,the truck drivers would drive in a slow procession for approximately 10 to 15 miles to pay respect to the driver that was injured or killed. This practice dates back many years, back to when drivers would look out for one another and were always willing to help fellow motorists in need.

As always, I hope I have answered your questions and look forward to answering more.  Please everyone, stay safe and keep the rubber side down.  We'll catch ya on the flip.

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