Q Two days in one week I’ve seen big rigs eastbound on Interstate 580 between Pleasanton and Livermore in the third lane from the right. What gives? Aren’t they only allowed in the two right lanes? Traffic is bad enough in that area without a slow-moving, fully loaded car carrier.
A And …
Q When I started driving, the two far-right-hand lanes were referred to as the truck lanes. My question is this: Why is the CHP allowing truckers on all Bay Area freeways to use other lanes?
It is unsafe for a number of reasons. It forces slower and elderly drivers out of the right-hand slow lanes into the faster left lanes. All drivers not wanting to be stuck behind slower moving trucks obviously move to the left and sometimes have to cut back across two to three lanes and squeeze between trucks to get to their exit.
Plus, they’re putting undo wear-and-tear on all lanes because of their excess weight. Are they now paying higher taxes because they are turning all lanes into truck lanes?
A No, though they pay 6 cents more a gallon for fuel than do nontruckers. Big rigs are restricted to 55 mph and given access to the right two lanes on roads with four or more lanes in one direction. But Steve-the-CHP-Man says the truck lanes on 580 and a few other Bay Area freeways are not quite so easy to discern:
“Once a driver gets past I-680 on I-580 eastbound there is a constant changing of the number and type of lanes. This would start on I-580 east of I-680 where lanes are reduced to three, allowing trucks into the No. 2 and 3 lanes.
“As you travel farther east there is a constant addition of auxiliary lanes that allow freeway traffic to merge onto the through lanes of I-580 but those lanes terminate at the next exit by being exit only lanes. These auxiliary lanes are not included in the lane count for truck travel.
“So, for example, at the section of freeway between Hopyard Road and Hacienda Drive there are two auxiliary lanes that exit at Hacienda. That would allow trucks to drive as far as the fourth lane from the right lane (two auxiliary lanes plus the two right-most through lanes). There are additional lane terminations and auxiliary lanes as you continue east, but I think you get the picture.
“As convoluted as this answer seems, in reality, the system works well. It allows exiting traffic to get off the freeway quicker, freeing up space for those continuing, and allows merging traffic time to adjust their speed and more effectively merge into the through traffic lanes. At the same time it keeps all that truck traffic in the through lanes and further away from the merging and exiting vehicles. So for the vast majority of trucks, the drivers are using the correct lane.”
Q The back doors on some semis are made of unpainted metal. Because of this, the doors reflect the morning sun rise. The light is blindingly bright, and it makes it hard to see the road. Are there rules against that?