There are a lot of mud flaps out there that are staples in the trucking community. The Sexy Silhouette, the Fat Trucker “Sexy Silhouette”, the Pass on the Right, and the various truck stop chains are just a few of them.

There is one though that I have seen since I was a child. It was one of my favorite cartoon characters from one of my favorite cartoon series. I was a huge Warner Brothers fan. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepe LePew, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Marvin the Martian, Gossamer…the list goes on and on.

One character has been emblazoned on many mud flaps over the years.  It is Yosemite Sam, pointing two six - shooters with the message “Back Off’.  It is meant to tell drivers to stop tailgating and to keep their distance. We beg four- wheelers to do this all the time but we can learn something from it too.

Practicing What We Preach

While we complain about people riding our tails, all too often I see professional truck drivers driving way too close to four- wheelers and big rigs. Sometimes it is being done to “intimidate” other vehicles down the road, while other times it is done in the name of keeping up with the flow of traffic, or it might be just a  lack of attention or a comfort level. In every case though, I think it is dangerous. We beg for four-wheelers to give us space, to stay off of our DOT bumpers, yet what are we showing them by acting this way?

Is it any wonder most of the motoring public thinks we can stop on a dime? I mean, if we, as professional drivers, can follow someone that closely, it must be safe, right? That is what I would think. Forget that it can take us up to two football fields to stop. Forget that the average reaction time is 0.7-3 seconds according to The fact of the matter is, it is a dangerous maneuver and by doing it, we are perpetuating the misconception.

SO, Obey the Mud Flap…Back Off!

Giving space is the best way to avoid a bad situation. Allowing ourselves room to stop might help prevent many of these rear end collisions we keep seeing on the news. This includes the chain reaction pile-ups we have seen this year. 

This will also help our image as professional truck drivers out on the roads. If they see us acting professionally, giving plenty of space and not “pushing” other vehicles down the road, maybe, just maybe, they will return the favor. Not only would this make our roads safer, it will make our life out there on the road just a little bit easier.

Follow Team Run Smart Pro Clark Reed on Instagram and Facebook.

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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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