Turtles are cool. If I see one trying to cross the road, I’m the kinda guy that’ll pull over and carry him across the road to safety. That is, unless it’s one of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If I see one of them in the road, I’m gonna stick out my tongue, close one eye, take aim, and hit the accelerator. Man, those “dudes” are annoying.

So why would I go out of my way to help a turtle cross the road? Well, like I said, they’re cool, but it’s also because The Evil Overlord likes that about me. What can I say? I’m a sweetie. Still, the main reason is simply because he’s so freakin’ slow. By the way, I do always assume it’s a male turtle crossing the road. My thinking is that the only thing that could make a turtle jump out into traffic is a lady turtle batting her eyes and wiggling her sexy little tail around.

So anyway, why all the talk about turtles? Well, because the trucking industry has its own version of turtles. Only no one likes them. I’m talking about speed-limited trucks. Specifically, I’m talking about two speed-limited trucks trying to pass each other out on the highway. You know; Turtle Racing.

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Whether your vehicle has 18 wheels or four, we’ve all experienced a Turtle Race. You’re tooling along in the fast lane, when some trucker jumps out in front of you. You calmly slow down and follow while this truck slooooooowly creeps up and passes the slightly slower truck. I assume you were calm, right? I mean, it only took five minutes for dillmunch #1 to pass dillmunch #2.

Notice that I called both of these drivers “dillmunch.” Besides the fact that I have no earthly idea what a dillmunch is, I still say the turtle race was both of these driver’s faults. It takes two to do the Tango and it takes two to race. If you were to ask most drivers whose fault it is, they’d blame the guy trying to pass. I agree… and I disagree. Let’s take a look at that.

Okay. Say my truck will go a mind-blowing warp speed of 65 mph. I’m coming up on a truck going 64 mph. Sure, I could tap my brake, lower my cruise control, and stare at his trailer doors all day. After all, I am looking pretty smokin’ in those reflective doors. But why should I have to slow down because my truck is faster than his? Wouldn’t it make more sense to let the faster truck get on with his business?

The thing is, it takes two drivers with common sense, professional attitudes, and the willingness to put themselves in the other driver’s shoes. Those are three attributes that are sorely missing in today’s trucking industry. Nowadays, everyone is out for themselves.

Drivers can’t be bothered to let you go around them before they take ten minutes to back into a wide-open parking spot. The same guys don’t have a second thought about butting in line to get to the shipping clerk’s window. Nor do they mind parking in front of the fuel bay while they mosey into the truck stop, stand in line to get their fuel receipt, take a dump, fill up their thermos, and grab some to-go food; hopefully in that order.

These are the same drivers who see the faster truck coming up behind them. They’re the drivers who see you in their mirror as you pull out to pass. The same jerk who can see the traffic stacking up behind you. The worthless puddle of dog vomit that refuses to tap his brakes, even though he can clearly see you’re going to pass him eventually.

Here’s how I try to deal with this. First, I give the driver the benefit of the doubt, trusting that as soon as he notices me, he’ll let me around. Hey, it could happen. Once I’ve caught his beady little eyes looking at me in his mirror, I wait a few seconds to see if he’s gonna back out of it. If he doesn’t, I resort to a drastic step. Well, it is for me anyway.

I break out the “Official Communication Device of Hell”, otherwise known as the CB radio. Again, I’ll be nice at first. Maybe he’s into a good audiobook and the situation just hasn’t registered in his puny little brain. I’ll key up the mic and say in a friendly voice, “Hey driver. How about a little driver courtesy here?” Sometimes that works. Other times, the guy doesn’t have his CB turned on. Can’t say as I blame him for that. Still other times, you know you’ve got a real winner on your hands when he picks up the mic and says, “If you can’t pass me faster than that, it’s not my problem.” Oh my. What do you do with a guy like this?

That’s when I take a deep, calming breath and explain to him that we as drivers are never going to get respect and cooperation from the public if we can’t even get it from our fellow drivers. I’m often filled with awe from their insightful comeback. Something truly wise, like, “Shut up, stupid.”

This is what we’re dealing with out here. All this could be avoided if drivers just had a little common courtesy towards each other. Instead, we’re all faced with turtle racing every day. And as for you four-wheelers, don’t think you’re exempt either. The only thing more frustrating than being stuck behind turtle racing trucks, is to be stuck behind turtle racing four-wheelers. For the love of Pete, folks. Trust me on this. It’s okay to turn your cruise control off. The car manufacturers have thoroughly tested these devices. You’re not gonna break anything. Except for my forehead, which is decisively bashing into my steering wheel with a head-banging force usually reserved for Slayer songs.

So here’s my plea to all drivers. Just get off the road and let me do my job. Okay, I guess that’s a bit impractical. So practically, let’s do this.

  • First, keep your eyes open and pay attention. They key to avoiding turtle racing is knowing when it’s actually happening and then doing whatever it takes to help the situation.
  • If you need to instigate a turtle race, wait until most of the traffic behind you has cleared. If traffic is heavy and you’re going to be holding people up, just tap your brakes and follow the slow-poke until traffic thins. Then mount your attack.
  • If you’re the slower driver, be a sport. Tap your brakes and let the other driver around. It’s not like you’re approaching 88 mph and if you don’t reach it in time, you’ll be stuck in the past… or future.
  • If you’re the faster driver, use the CB to politely ask if the dimwit will let you around. My suggestion would be to NOT use the term “dimwit” when addressing said dimwit.
  • If the slower driver ignores you, or worse, laughs at you, feel free to wave at him as you drive past his window. I leave the amount of fingers you use entirely up to you.
  • If you’re the faster driver, and Captain Slo-Mo just won’t let you around, even after multiple attempts, be the bigger man (or woman). Back out of it, get behind him, and let all the backed-up traffic go on their merry little, un-speed-limited way.
  • Now for the final and most important step. Concentrate hard and wish for the next toilet seat he visits to be infested with crabs. Now, don’t you feel better?

If you think I’m totally off-base here, or you’ve got some good tips to avoid turtle racing, please share them in the comments section. Also please give this post a star rating. I’m sorry, but the button seems to be broken. It appears that only 5 stars are being accepted at this time. HeeHee And please share this post on whatever social network that sucks up waaaaay too much of your time. 🙂 Thanks.

Photo by TheMarque via Flickr

About the Author
I'm a 22-year truck driver with an interest in tech stuff. I do the Trucker Dump podcast and blog, which is all about life as a trucker. I have also written two trucking books, "Trucking Life" and "How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job."
15 comments on “TD66: Truckers Go Turtle Racing
  1. Casey says:

    OMG ~ Turtle racing!! LOL

    I get all nervous if more than 2 cars are behind me so I usually wait until there’s no one behind me before I pass a car. Same with trucks.

    Something else that ticks me off is when a truck is required to be in the left lane because of construction or something but when it’s over, cars don’t let him back over. They are too busy yelling at him to get out of the way, but they keep going around him on the right so he can’t get back over! I usually get over in the right and block traffic from going around the truck on the right so he can get back over.

    Common courtesy. It should be a required credit in schools.

  2. Todd McCann says:

    We truckers sure appreciate drivers that help us out. I think in these “left lane for trucks” situtations, most auto drivers aren’t even aware that we’re supposed to be out there. But you’re right. If they want us out of the fast lane so bad, why the heck won’t they let us back over?

    Thanks for the comment. Now do a blog post and leave me alone. 🙂

  3. Who knew there were rules for turtle racing!

    1. Todd McCann says:

      Yep. Next up for the trucking industry: Rules for when and where you may go to the bathroom.

  4. I adore turtles. seriously. adore turtles. I’m glad you, me and the Evil Overlord have that in common Todd. Oh, and I called myself big blondie on the CB in junior high when we road-tripped. 🙂 haha.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      “Big blondie,” huh? I bet that got the trucker’s attention, didn’t it? Knowing truckers as I do, I’m afraid to ask what kind of verbal perversion you were exposed to as a junior high student.

  5. Lisa Nowak says:

    Maybe you should take a lesson from the stock car racers and try a little rubbing. Oh, that would get you fired, not to mention arrested? Never mind. My bad.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      No, I’m thinking a little rubbing might be a good thing. Perhaps I’ll use that as an exit strategy when I’m on my final trucking run.

  6. Kat says:

    ba ha haaaaaaaa classic. thanks mate.
    yeah there are many a “dimwit” out on the roads.
    most car and 4wdrivers haven’t got a clue of what perils a truckie faces in this day and age.. turtles are only one of them…
    of course theirs the greaser who’s so far up ya ass that he’s (or she) is using ya numberplate as a mirror, then abuse the f’k out of you if you suddenly have to stop for a dear old duck tryin to cross the road.

    then theirs the nitwit-f’ktard that trys to cut in on your left when your making a left hand turn and the smuck wonders why he’s got tyre tread marks over his bonnett.

    I thnk it should be mandatry for all drivers to spend a few days in a passenger seat of a big-rig before they get their licence, and see the world thru truckers eyes.. and see the crap they deal with everyday… maybe then… truckers will get the respect from motorists they deserve (the good ones) rounds of appulause… and thanks for carting the dunnypaper they wipe their asse with.. if it wasn’t for truckers… we’d all still be using dockleafs.. or worse squatting in stinging nettle 😉

    *thumbs up to you an all truckers out there*

    stay safe… hammer down.. and keep theshiney side up.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      What a great comment, Kat. I have nothing further to add. Now slow down and take a deep breath. It’ll be all right. LOL

  7. BTJohnson83 says:

    Well put Todd. Just thinking about a turtle race makes my blood boil. I think its as much of a pride issue as it is a courtesy issue. When Pops sold all of his trucks, I went to work for Hogan. I had never driven a governed truck til then and was use to passing anything i wanted like it was sitting still. The Kenworth i drove was fast. I dont know exactly how fast but the speedometer would register a little bit past “KW.” The KW emblem is 6 o’clock on the dial. 80 was about 5 o;clock… best i can figure, that truck would do about 100 miles per stupid and i tried to do it every chance i had. 75 was normal operating speed on I70 in IL. Running up behind 62mph vs 63mph doing 75 in a 55 zone will make your head spin! (that was my younger cowboy days when I thought I had something to prove) I got that slow company truck and I would ride next to someone for as long as it took to do my thing and not give a seconds thought to it. I guess that it was my way of rebelling since I went from a wide open truck to a 64 mph truck. Then one day i thought about all the times I’d get stuck behind a couple of those bozos and how furious it made me. I realized that i was the epitome of a hypocrite and it ended right there. Any more, i just dont care. I’m not too proud give up and tuck back behind a slightly slower truck til i hit the next down grade and grab Georgia Overdrive. I’ve even went as far as making an unplanned stop to get away from a bunch of turtle racers and leap froggers.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      Oh, c’mon man! Now you’re just being mean talking about a 100 mph truck! LOL

      I was a lot like you in the beginning. I didn’t want to give up my spot and figured if the driver couldn’t get around me quickly, then he/she shouldn’t be trying to pass. Like you, I eventually realized that and mellowed out.

      It’s a shame that it takes time to realize our hypocrisy out here. They should be teaching this stuff in the driving schools.

      I’m pretty confident that most of us experienced drivers do the right thing. I’m just hoping that my “Turtle Racing” blog post will make some of these newbies think about what they’re doing NOW. I don’t want to have to wait for them to gain experience!

      Thanks for the excellent comment.

  8. Candace says:

    I hate when I’m trying to get around a truck doing 62 when I’m governed at 64 and they just try harder to keep me from passing or even speed up while I’m trying to pass. Really? Was that absolutely necessary? You couldn’t have sped up while I was making tracks behind you? So I always keep that in mind when I have a truck trying to pass me that is struggling to do so…I hit the brakes and take it off cruise control so they can pass. Then I just hit the little button that resumes cruise. Is it that important to not take it down just a couple of mph? And I’ve also made it a practice to back off and slip over back behind if I see faster trucks coming up behind me. Why should I block them? I wasn’t getting anywhere very fast anyway (although I can’t say I slip back over for cars behind me…usually they were flying up behind me at 90 mph anyway…not gonna hurt them to back off). Just like I will ride the middle lane in heavier traffic areas but if I see faster trucks coming behind me I’ll duck back over to the right lane until they have gone past.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      I do the same thing, Candace… on all counts. Keep up your awesomeness. Maybe it’s contagious and those idiots who won’t cooperate will catch on someday. Here’s to wishful thinking…

      1. Candace says:

        Thank you Todd. I hear all the time about the “new breed” of drivers being inconsiderate but not all of us are. I’m still fairly a newbie with only a year and a half experience…but I’ve been around truckers quite a bit previously as my late husband was after he got out of the Army and my ex-husband is as well after getting out of the Air Force (do you see a pattern here? LOL) I just try to do what I would like to think others would do for me but I’m often disappointed when very few are considerate of others like I am. You keep up the your awesomeness too!

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