5687-(1).jpgRecently I came across a post on social media where someone posted a video of a collision between a truck and a four-wheeler and asked the question, “Who was at fault?”. The driver of the car was obviously the instigator, brake checking the truck, changing lanes in front of them, brake checking again, and finally moving back in front of the truck. Traffic was heavy, speeds were low so the accident was minor. It actually looked like a perfectly executed PIT maneuver where the truck caught the back corner and spun the little car out of the way and into the Jersey barriers. The truck driver then moved the side of the road, obviously waiting for authorities to begin the filling out of accident reports, exchanging insurance information and taking pictures. If you have ever had to do that you know what a time-consuming task all of that is. Not fun.

Many defended the truck driver, saying that “he did everything he could to avoid the car”, “the car pulled out in front of the truck”, “the truck was under no obligation to give way to the car”, etc., etc. All valid points, but they left out one thing. The driver of the truck is supposed to be the professional.

Invitation Extended

Admittedly, I don’t know what led up to the brake checking car, but we’ve all seen idiots like that. For some reason they get their jollies out of slowing down an 80,000 lb. missile.  Sometimes those brake checks turn into a massive collision and also leads to loss of life.  Many times however, they are just a nuisance, causing us to slow down and lose momentum. The brake checker, lane changing dude or dudette is just looking to inconvenience us or prove some point about their driving skills or road superiority. They are looking for a reaction from us. Mr. Brake Checker was obviously trying to prove a point and extended an invitation to the driver to come to the Road Rage party. 

Invitations Can Be Declined

Just because the invitation is extended, doesn’t mean we have to accept though. In my opinion, the driver of the truck is the professional. After the first brake check and the first lane change to block me, I would have slowed down a little and let that idiot be an idiot until he lost interest or decided they had won.  In the video, the truck driver never backed off enough to give the car room to be the jerk.  They stayed right up with the flow of traffic, not willing to give an inch which inevitably led to the collision. The car was obviously playing games and looking to get under the truck driver’s skin. It worked and it cost both of them time. 

I am not bashing the truck driver here, nor am I defending the car driver. What I am saying is that we are the professionals. We have the responsibility to operate our vehicles in a safe manner regardless of the situations we are going through or other people's actions. The driver of the truck was trying to get past the car when it changed lanes into him. They may have been in a hurry or simply trying to get around the mischievous car, but in the end, it cost them time, probably more time than would have been lost if they had just backed off and let the car go. 

So just remember this one thing: JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE INVITED TO THE FIGHT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO. The same could be said of dances, which I was made painfully aware of in school. Survival is possible though, so be the professional and let the amateurs do their thing.

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Clark W Reed

Clark Reed of Roscoe, Illinois is an OTR company driver and trainer for Nussbaum Transportation based out of Hudson, Illinois. He has been driving since 2005 and has driven van, reefer, and tanker. He currently hauls dry van to all lower 48 states. Clark is passionate about MPGs and how driver habits influence them. The lifetime average of his 2018 Cascadia is 9.75 mpg, with eyes on 10. Clark, along with Henry Albert, was one of the seven drivers in 2017's "Run on Less" by NACFE, a road show, demonstrating what fuel efficiency can be obtained with existing technologies.

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