Tractors on the Highway
27 Aug, 2010
I have always had a little pet peeve when it comes to tractors on the highway. I’m mostly referring to front-loaders* and dump trucks, because I pass them every day.
Yesterday while driving to work I was coming up on a dump truck. Not wanting to drive behind because of previous bad experiences (a rock flew up and cracked my windshield on two separate occasions) I began to over take him.
Then I heard a sound I could only describe as a meteor bursting through my car.
It was a rock. And it came from under the dump truck.
That’s 3 cracks on my windshield from rocks on the ground that fly up as dump trucks run over them.
The first couple of cracks I chalked up to bad luck. Now I’m really considering how often this must happen to other drivers.
There must be a lot of windshield cracks out there from this same effect.
In fact, I asked my insurance broker out of curiousity if this is a regular claim.
“You wouldn’t even believe how many claims we get.”
Why hasn’t anyone acted to correct this?! Insurance companies are spending a fortune and it’s creating major headache for you and me. Not to mention the safety ramifications of flying rocks while driving.
Obviously the government cannot ban these vehicles from the highway, but surely something can be done to prevent these problems from happening in the future.
This is dangerous. I am a composed driver, but if my mother was behind the wheel when that rock his my car there would have been panic. There could have been an accident on the highway yesterday. The kind that could be avoided.
Perhaps regulating better mud flaps to deflect rogue stones. Perhaps limiting the speed of these trucks to a speed that will not catapult rocks as they drive over them.
Alternatively I could stop using the highway and take a route that takes four times longer but why should I have to drive the long and painful route?
What can we do to fix this problem?
* It came to my attention yesterday that front-loaders, which are always driving along the shoulder of the highway, may not be driving legally (someone told me a vehicle must be able to reach the speed limit to be allowed to use that roadway. Not sure how best to verify this) and that they have to be loaded on a flat-bed truck to be carried on the highway. Consequently when these tractors are givin’er on the shoulder of the road, they are pushing loose stones out on to the highway.