Courtesy one of the Unwritten Rules of the Road


We all know that every industry, business or sport has their unwritten rules. One of the biggest unwritten rules for truck drivers is courtesy. We want to examine some of the courtesies that we should extend to our fellow drivers out there. The courtesy we are discussing should be shown to professional drivers and the folks driving their cars as well. Your goals as a professional driver should be to improve your skills, drive safely and be productive. And courtesy is one skill that you should continually working on.

Why is courtesy one of the most important unwritten rules in truck driving?

We are the road warriors out there any where from 8 to 11 hours a day. We spend our days searching for hazards, recognizing them and planning to avoid them. Sometimes we spend most our day in one lane on the interstate. And other days we spend our time jamming our gears in rush hour traffic. We need to constantly be working on our courtesy skills. Without courtesy we have the ability to clog up the interstate. Without courtesy our roads would be filled with drivers that wouldn’t pay attention to anything around them. Without courtesy we have the ability to send our trailer tires right over the top of a small sedan and kill someone. Courtesy is one of the most important skills to master and it takes a long time to develop. Having courtesy for other drivers can also reduce the amount of stress and tension you feel on the road.

What are some ways I can show courtesy for other drivers? 

One of the best ways to show courtesy to your fellow motorists is to keep your head on a swivel. Just being aware of the other traffic around you can have a huge impact. If you are aware of the traffic around you then you can place your vehicle in the right spot for traffic flow. You can move over for emergency vehicles. You can move over for traffic that is merging on the freeway. You can follow the speed limits or drive close to them. No one likes to come up really fast on a slow moving vehicle. One method of courtesy that you can apply to winter driving is to get off the road if you are uncomfortable. If you don’t feel safe driving in the conditions, the chances for you to have an accident increase. If you don’t feel safe driving at 45 m.p.h. then you should exit the freeway and find a safe spot. Unless you are driving in a school zone, then don’t go 45.

One bit of courtesy I allow the other motorists is to make sure traffic is clear before I pass a slow moving vehicle. There are some emergency type reasons to cut off traffic. However, the average lane change to pass a slow moving vehicle is not an emergency. Use your mirrors and make sure you aren’t going to impede traffic before you pass. Then if you are getting passed by another vehicle that is going about the same speed. You can back off a little and let them pass. They caught up to you so obviously you drive at different speeds which is not healthy for fuel economy or they are faster than you. Just let em go by and get back up to speed later. This way there is no stress or tension out there.


One great way to recognize you are not being courteous is your mood. If you feel a little angry, stressed out or you feel like you need to apologize for your actions on the road. This would be an indication that you are not showing courtesy to your fellow drivers. I truly feel that you should treat other people (or drivers) as you would like to be treated. If you don’t mind being cut off or pushed off the road then you should get your head examined. However, if you extend the courtesy you have for other drivers. This will definitely come around for you in the future. You never know when “karma” will come back around to bite you. Let us know what you think! Any comments or questions would be welcomed. Also stay safe out there!