Mark (generalist) wrote,

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Do not merge into my truck

We have been moving for the past couple of months, from the house we until recently rented in Mountain View, to the house my girlfriend owns in the Berkeley flatland. Moving over time has meant driving our truck back and forth, up and down the Bay, back and forth between the two cities, 45 miles apart.
Now let me tell you about the truck. It is a 1988 Chevy P30 'Workhorse', with a 6.2 liter diesel engine. Here's a picture of a similar truck, mine is the same except it has a better paint job, an RV window in the side, and a lift-gate. It has a 3-speed automatic transmission, and it is geared very low. This means that it can probably pull large stumps out of the ground without trying very hard, but it has a maximum speed of only 65mph, and that on a good day with a stiff tailwind. As you can see, it is big. It weighs something like 6 tons, it's 20' long, and it's 10' tall. It's not a semi, but it's hard to miss.

You know the phrase 'it drives like a truck'? Well, it does. Especially now that the power brakes and power steering have failed (the belt fell off and I've been too busy to deal with it). My driving style with this vehicle is to maintain a steady speed unless someone slows down in front of me. Typically I drive it at 55mph on the freeway, in the right lane or the second to the right lane. Despite all of this, the visibility and the slow and steady driving, people seem to think the vehicle is made of empty space. People persistently make attempts to merge into the sides and front of the vehicle. (they may do the same at the rear, I would never know.)

Night before last, while driving home from Mountain View to Berkeley with a load of miscellaneous household goods, no less than 4 cars tried to merge into me. Two (the best two) were Mercedes. In the first case, a new-ish E350 wagon, complete with dealer plates, came onto the freeway in the merge lane exactly beside me. I maintained my 55mph speed and it maintained its 55mph speed. Eventually the merge lane ended and it plowed into some soft debris at the end of the merge lane before gliding into the slow lane behind me. It never passed me. In the second case, a 300D sedan decided it needed to exit at the exit 100M in front of me. It started behind me on my left, accelerated to the right through the space I would occupy fractional seconds in the future, then swerved into the exit lane. It was so close to my bumper that I could only see about half of the car!

So when someone merges into the side of your car, now you know. It probably wasn't that your car was nicer than theirs and they wanted an insurance pay-out. It probably wasn't that your car wasn't painted bright orange. It probably wasn't that you were driving unpredictably. From my recent experience, it was most likely that the errant driver was driving without a brain. It happens.

Do not merge into my truck. Please. I would hate to have to explain to your relatives that you died of your own stupidity, I surely would not like to explain what happened to the CHP or to the insurance company; and it would be awfully inconvenient overall.

Cheers! generalist

Tags: rant

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