Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why lorry drivers are more likely to let you out.

Much has been written about driver stereotypes - the woman driver, the 4x4 driver, the white van man - and much of it is true. There are exceptions to every rule but stereotypes generally do not become stereotypes without a grain of truth in them. I have often been told that if you need to pull out at a junction, you are better off trying to get in front of a lorry than in front of a car. Is that because lorry drivers are nicer than car drivers? Is it because lorry drivers are more often than not (another stereotype with exceptions) men and men are more likely to let women out and it is my female friends who have told me this? Not necessarily. These are the reasons that I have spotted:

Lorry drivers are at work. If the stuff gets to where it's going now this minute or a couple of minutes later, it doesn't really matter to them. It is not their time anyway, it's the company's, so it doesn't make much difference to them if they give some of it away. They are still at work whether they let you out or not, so they might as well. Car drivers are often driving to get to somewhere in order to do something, so the journey is just an inconvenience to be endured and they want it over as soon as possible, so that the real business of what they are going to do can start.

Lorry drivers spend hours and hours every week on the roads, they are forever pulling out at junctions and it takes ages for them to do it. If nobody ever let them out, they would never get anywhere. They are aware of the functioning of the road system in terms of the big picture, and the big picture would function much more smoothly if people let each other out a bit more. Car drivers rarely do the mileage that lorries do (and if they do, will probably be more generous at letting people out) so they do not see the big picture, they are blinkered about getting to where they need to go.

A lorry driver's eyes are on average 8' up in the air! They can see much further than cars, can see if someone is waiting to pull out in plenty of time to slow down and let them. As a car driver, I want to let people into the queue of traffic because I know how much more smoothly the roads would operate if more people did, but from the little box with a small windscreen that is a car, it is much harder to see when someone is waiting and I can often not stop in time.

There are plenty of things that people hate truckers for and I will probably address some of those in later posts, but on the whole, the really irritating or good things that people do on the roads have good explanations behind them.

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