Do you ever wonder what would happen if every driver could simply follow the rules of the road in some kind of magical lockstep, preventing all traffic accidents and near-collisions for just one day? Me either, but we still compiled advice from the most seasoned drivers on earth—truckers—to tell us how to be slightly less shitty on the road this holiday season.
This Fourth of July, there will be a lot of us out there dumbing it down. According to AAA, more Americans will travel this year for the holiday than in the history of ever, with some 44.2 million going as far as 50 miles from home. Of those travelers, 37.5 million will drive, which is a nearly 3 percent increase from last year. Common sense tells us that at least half of those people are total idiots who will swerve wildly, text at 70 miles an hour and check their hair a lot. And no one knows the heinousness of the average driver better than truckers.
“These highways are our office, and our rolling bedroom,” Pennsylvania trucker Greg White, who has been trucking for 22 years, told The New York Times earlier this month. They rounded up a slew of highway safety advice for motorists, and it all boiled down to a few key tenets.
The overwhelming plea, repeated over and over by nearly everyone they interviewed: USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL, ya morons. It’s this little switch in your car that alerts everyone where you’re going. Tap it before you turn the wheel, okay?
No one knows why this one piece of simple, easy-to-follow advice is so difficult for people, but once Reddit asked its readers who commit this crime daily to explain themselves. Their answer? “Because I don’t care.” Morons, indeed!
What else do truckers want us to do (or not do)?
- Yield to 18-wheelers. They can’t slow down or speed up as fast as you.
- Use your headlights if it’s raining — it’s the only way they can see you.
- Don’t zip in and out of the spaces between them and the next vehicle. That’s their stopping cushion.
- Learn how to merge.
- Don’t flip them off for slowing down in bad weather; they have to for safety.
- Stop holding your phone. One trucker said 75 percent of the people he sees on the road are literally holding their phones in one hand gawking at it, and once he saw someone texting at 85 miles an hour in Texas. (Of course it was Texas.)
- Stop texting.
- Stop doing a bunch of other distracting, dangerous shit. “I’ve seen drivers doing everything from makeup to reading to using bongs and pipes, making out, sexual acts and, most commonly, playing and texting on the phone while doing 70 m.p.h.,” Florida trucker Robert Graham told The Times. “That is a fast way to get killed.”
I also put the question to a Facebook group for truckers called Truckers Wall of Shame, which began as a way to shame other truckers for pissing on the side of the road and other bad behavior, but has since morphed into over 165,000 members who post videos of hauls and talk shop about life on the road.
When asked what motorists could do or not do to keep the roads safer this holiday, their answers were pretty much identical:
- Don’t drink and drive.
- Learn how to merge.
- Don’t text.
- Pay attention.
- Stay out of the space in front of and behind the trucks.
- Don’t cut them off.
- Use your freaking turn signals, for the love of all that is basic and decent.
But overwhelmingly, most of them said with great earnest, to please, simply, “Stay the fuck home.” Even morons know that’s wishful thinking—but at least we can all work on using our goddamn turn signals.