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Truckers would never splash anyone intentionally, would they? (Ola Dusegard.se/iStockphoto)
Truckers would never splash anyone intentionally, would they? (Ola Dusegard.se/iStockphoto)

Road Sage

Spotlight on the poor beleaguered trucker Add to ...

Truckers. Can't live with them. Can't have goods shipped (relatively) cheaply across the country without them.

Truckers and their rides come in all different shapes and sizes, from rickety cube vans to 18-wheelers. They're like indestructible dinosaurs that refuse to die. They don't get much respect. For instance, few of us appreciate that without truckers that orange we're eating would cost $25.

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We share the road with truckers and theirs is the only profession that will never be "off-shored" and yet the trucker/non-trucker relationship is often fraught with anxiety and anger. Do they still use CBs? Are they really always armed? Do they all look like Burt Reynolds? Do they listen to country music on the radio or does country music just play in their heads?

So, in an effort to clear things up, Road Sage presents "Ask a Trucker" an informative and engaging attempt to create a little trucking understanding.

Dear Trucker,

I heard that the middle lane on a three-lane highway is not meant for the use of trucks and that the middle lane is the passing lane for truckers. Yet, I often get stuck behind trucks that stay unwaveringly in the centre lane? What gives?

Stuck in the Middle by You

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

This is a common misconception. We truckers call the middle lane the "truck lane" and the left lane the "truck-optional lane." The right lane we call the "truck-only lane." If you can stay out of these lanes you should not be in any difficulty.

Dear Trucker,

I was driving behind a slow-moving Kenworth T2000 tractor-trailer the other day and decided to pass. When I put on my signal and pulled into the centre lane, the truck sped up, increasing his speed so much that I could not pass. He did this repeatedly. Every time I tried to pass he sped up. This game continued until he eventually turned off the highway. Is this standard procedure for truckers or did this guy just hate me?

Passed Caring

Dear Passed Caring,

Relax. It's not you.

Dear Trucker,

The other day I was sitting at the end of a two-block-long chain of cars. Ahead, three lanes of traffic snarled into a single lane. Drivers inched slowly along. The mood was grim. There must have been a bad accident up ahead, I imagined, to cause such a delay or a power line down or some other such random roadside calamity. Do you know what happened?

Mystified in Moncton

Dear Mystified,

You might think that, but you'd be wrong. The Tim Hortons on your right should have been your first clue. Why were you and your fellow travellers sequestered into a single lane?

Simple. A trucker wanted a coffee.

Yep, a guy driving a truck wanted a drink so he pulled over, flicked on his blinkers and sauntered on in and, as a result, traffic was brought to almost a complete stand-still.

If you did that a parking cop would be on you so fast the words "double, double" would barely be off your lips. That's because you're not a trucker, you're a "four-wheeler." If you were a trucker you'd know that a truck's blinkers automatically veto things like the law and common courtesy. It's a little-known fact but in many provinces if a truck flicks on his blinkers he is legally allowed to commit petty theft.

Dear Trucker,

How can I join your ranks?

Craving the Freedom

Dear Craving,

Driving a truck is a very difficult profession. It requires arduous training, the ability to focus for long periods of time and staying alert to any possible dangers that might occur.

Truck driving also demands a fair amount of dexterity. It's not easy operating a massive hunk of rolling steel. You also need a strong constitution. Those long hauls can take it out of you. Those who wish to drive professionally must jump many hurdles to win their credentials. I have to be honest. It's tough.

The only thing harder than passing these tests is forgetting them all once you've become a professional trucker.

Dear Trucker,

Is it true that you guys sometimes accidentally splash pedestrians?

Wet in Calgary

Dear Wet,

If by accidentally, you mean intentionally, then yes, we sometimes accidentally splash pedestrians.

Dear Trucker,

I left an apple on my desk yesterday. Do you think the cleaning staff did something to it or can I still eat it?

Hungry in Vancouver

Dear Hungry,

Do not eat that apple.

Well, that's all for now, my four-wheeled friends. I'll see you on the open road.

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