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Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

Posted December 16, 2014 9:30 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: highway racing tourism Track

Known as The Tail of the Dragon, U.S. 129 is a challenging road to drive under ideal circumstances. With 318 turns in 11 miles of two-lane, the dangers include blind corners, over-enthusiastic drivers, wildlife - and tractor-trailers. Now, thanks to an operational and safety review by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the odds of encountering a tractor-trailer sprawled across two lanes in a blind corner have been diminished, as commercial vehicles longer than 30-feet have been banned from the road.

Until its overexposure in the media, U.S. 129 through Blount County in Tennessee and into North Carolina was one of the finest driving roads in the United States. Attracting sports car and sport bike owners from around the world, U.S. 129 is as technical as any race track, and the ever-increasing number of visitors has brought with it an alarming accident rate.

Scope of out this twisted Tennessee trail on Hemmings.

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#1

Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/16/2014 2:09 PM

"a tractor-trailer sprawled across two lanes" Isn't that called "Drifting"?

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#2

Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 12:30 AM

In some countries,in narrow steerts heavy vehicles like truck/lorry or container trailors or trailors carrying long/very heavy items are banned during day time but allowed in night.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 8:30 AM

America's over-reliance on tractor trailers has become an interesting problem for most highway departments. With congestion, roadway wear and tear, narrow roads, aging bridges and ever increasing weight limits adding to that the sheer numbers and an outdated infrasrtucture many places are rethinking how we handle trucks on our roadways.

Aside from that, US 129 was a blast to drive back in the 1970's.

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#4

Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 9:52 AM

Ha ! Ha ! Americas over dependence on tractor trailers. Saying something like that shows you know absolutely nothing about truck transportation infrastructure. Let's start in the beginning. How do you think everything in your house got there ? That's right, a truck brought it. How do you think the food got to the supermarket ? That's right, a truck brought it. How did all of the home building supplies get to Lowes, Ace hardware or The home depot ? That's right, a truck brought it. How do you think gasoline got to the gas station, medical supplies got to the hospital, etc. That's right, a truck brought it. Now there might be people that think everything goes by rail or airplane or the little night people or milk comes out of a pipe in the back of the store, but it just ain't so. The way it works is this: A company orders or sells a product, a truck is sent to pick up that product or raw material, some of those products or raw materials are sent to the rail head to be moved across the country, most of the products are moved by trucks because you can't put a rail line down every street in the u.s. and you can't put an airport in every business district and if we relied on on rickshaw drivers or scooters like Vietnam we wouldn't have anything near the gdp like we got. The U.S.A is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day a year country, people want it and they want it now.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 10:47 AM

GA tonyhemet.

The statement about "over dependence on trucks" is a statement that does show a lack of education about how commerce works in this country. There are many factors that determine how freight moves. One of the things that is non-sensical to me is that many of the rail lines are being taken up; rails, rock, bridges and even the base in some instances. That doesn't seem to make sense but I'm probably missing some of the underlying factors.

Between rail and barge, that is the cheapest form of moving large amounts of goods and raw materials but they only go so far and all the arterial freight has to move by truck. There are no other options.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 11:19 AM

You must have been a trucker somewhere in your past to post that statement, and probably a union driver at that. The statement of trucks over 40 FT was for the safety of the other traffic. If you have not been down this road you would not know that any truck over 40 FT will cover both lanes on most of the switchbacks, you ever try to go around a corner with a semi in your lane he wins every time.I have been down the dragons tail, when I was a lot younger and dumber and encountered several trucks on the way. It was not fun trying to avoid them and more than once I had to go off the road to avoid them. I don't push my luck anymore, most of the guys I rode with no longer ride because of the inattentive other drivers, and its hard to strap your walker to the bike. (DAMN) I hate gettin old.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 11:30 AM

tonyhemet, I re-read the original post. Then I re-read your riposte.

I think you have falsely equated "a truck brought it" to means that it HAD to be brought by a "TRACTOR TRAILER" the over dependence on which is the criticism of Rashavare, the original poster. He rightly points out that such old fashioned methodology is the bane of many highway departments and that it threatens much older transportation infrastructure.

We can find a better way.

There is no necessity that cargo move always in "tractor trailers". There are many TRUCKS shorter than 30 ft that can bring "it" to you.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 11:02 AM

Without trucks, travelers wouldn't know where "A good place to eat" would be along the route. No longer would the term for a livestock trailer hauling hogs "load of Go-Go Girls" be heard.

I think trucks should have rear wheel steering like a fire engine to better navigate winding roads such as this.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 11:20 AM

Hey Tony,
I want to thank you for very clearly illustrating my point.
We did not build the infrastructure for this level of truck traffic.
No I was not discounting their uses, just the number and that we need to find a better way of handling them in our country.
IF you have ever lost a tire, control arm, ball joint to a large pothole you can, in many cases thank truck traffic.
IF you have ever had your grill and front end trashed by a thrown retread.....
IF you have ever been sitting in stalled traffic at rush hour for hours only to find a truck and car can not share the same space at the same time....
No, my point was simply that it got out of hand and over ran our ability to handle.
So I thank you again for helping make my point by illustrating the facts that there are too many of them on roads
Roads not built for vehicles of that size and weight, in towns and cities not designed for them, sharing roads with people in cars (also increased in number), creating a problem that needs addressing before we start adding more of them to our already overun (pardon the pun) and crumbling roads and bridges.
Thanks Fac Man,
You were right were I was going with the railroad point.
Even more fun though. Let me tell you about driving my 67 GT350 down that little stretch of road back in 1978!

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#10

Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/17/2014 3:10 PM

Ever heard of a "pup"? A pup is a 28ft trailer. UPS uses them all day, so does a lot of other ltl carriers in Tennessee, figure it this way, 28 ft trailer-single axle power unit with 8 ft overhang equals 36 ft length, now it can drive on that road.

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Re: Truck Ban to Make 'The Tail of the Dragon' (a Little Bit) Safer

12/18/2014 1:20 AM

Yes you could. If your company found it profitable to do so, but I don't think they would find a profit in using such a short delivery trailer with such a large tractor economical or profitable at all. Just because you can is not a reason to do it. I personally as a small business owner would not find a profit in using such expensive equipment to do a smaller load just because someone wanted to drive the scenic route on a given day. Many large businesses have been made into smaller business with bad decisions like that and some don't survive operating like that. Look at their profit and loss statements from years past and look at them today, that will tell you exactly what happens to companies when corporations do things like that.

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