Cars don't pull 53-foot trailers


By Al Vinikour  

For the majority of drivers with any degree of skill it’s a hoot to wheel around in a compact or sub-compact vehicle (providing one can fit into them). They generally have quick, responsive steering, a sturdier than expected suspension and adequate power to get out of its own way.

However, I have noticed a trait among many drivers of the above-mentioned segment. When making turns, some of the operators are so confused that they must think they’re pulling a 53-foot trailer behind them. I have been waiting at intersections and witnessed 18-wheel Mack Diesels hauling a 53-footy Fruehauf freezer-trailer make a pinpoint right-hand turn and other than having to “extend” the lanes a bit, they’ll do it in almost a 90-degree radius.

Yet how often have you followed a small car like a Toyota Corolla or Niissan Versa and if they happen to signal they’re making a right-hand turn, start to weave left well into the other lane and then make their right turn. What in hell are they towing behind that vehicle that demands such a sweeping angle?

Severe beatings at the hands of my cousins must have affected my eyesight somehow because nobody would make a turn like that unless they were hauling an over-the-road trailer of considerable size and they felt they needed the room to avoid running it over the curb if they made the turn too short.

Consequently, if they are…I must not be able to see it. Guess that old adage my mother constantly harped at me when I was a youngster was true because not once have I seen a Nissan Sentra pulling a 32-wheeled tanker trailer.

If many more people insist on making turns this way it would behoove the states to require Class “A” Chauffer’s licenses for those who can’t pass a simple turning exercise. If this is the case I would strongly suggest investing in an American Truck Driving School franchise.

No bad deed stands on its own. Those who make turns like I’ve described are probably the same people who don’t make square turns when they turn left. They’ll cut across the car waiting to go forward in the far left lane so closely it barely avoids a collision by just inches.

The most dangerous place to be is in that first car when vehicles coming from your right are turning the opposite way you’re headed. Some communities have a left-turn lane next to a double-lane highway. While this may be fine in theory it’s more dangerous in practice. Even if you’re cautious and stay well behind the lane line it doesn’t matter. These cars that are turning will go after your vehicle like a heat-seeking missile to the point of giving you explosive diarrhea worrying about getting clipped by this idiot.

Even if there is no left-turn lane and you’re going straight, if you’re in that left-hand lane…you are a target, my friend. There’s only one place to be safe and that’s in the right-hand lane. However, even that has its perils.

Let’s say you’ve been sideswiped before and you’re really gun-shy about waiting at an intersection in the left lane — especially if you’re first. Consequently, you always try to stay in the right-hand lane, as mentioned earlier. You’re still not safe because most, if not all states have a “right turn on red” law and if you’re first at a busy intersection and you’re in the right lane you can bet your tuchus (as my people say) that those behind you are wanting to turn right…and you are all that’s standing between them and that turn. I hope you like the sound of car horns because somewhere in that line is road rage in the making…and it’s directed at you.

The bottom line is this — don’t drive a Kenworth twin-screw cab like you would a MAZDA3…and don’t make right-hand turns in a MAZDA3 like you’re driving a Kenworth hauling a load of rutabagas. You’re going to look like an ass either way — and you’re a danger to your fellow drivers.