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In this holiday season, I could have destroyed a family with my 6-ton cube van. I was traveling down a main road in Tonawanda when a utility vehicle made a left turn directly in front of me. Luckily, I was traveling at 35 mph in a 40-mph zone.

I don't think people realize the momentum that a large vehicle has.

If a person driving a vehicle weighing 3,000 pounds crosses into the path of a 12,000-pound vehicle, the truck driver has two options: swerve, slam on the brakes and do everything in his power to avoid hitting the car or kill everyone in the other vehicle.

A car or utility vehicle has no chance in this type of collision and will be destroyed, while the truck will remain virtually undamaged -- perhaps a dent in the solid-steel bumper.

The look in the passenger's eyes in that vehicle when she came into view said it all. I would have hit her side first. But fortunately, I swerved my truck and avoided the collision. I could see the panic and relief in the woman's eyes. I couldn't stop, so I had to avoid. Thank God there was no one in the right lane.

I pulled over and shuddered to think of what might have been. My load had shifted, destroying two windows and a large steel filing cabinet. My loss. The other vehicle never stopped.

Truck drivers travel slower and leave more space between themselves and other drivers for a good reason. They cannot stop or start as quickly. If people get mad at a truck driver and cut in front of him and slam on their brakes, they will likely lose their lives or the trucker will lose his trying to save theirs.

People would not pull in front of a train going 35 mph and slam on their brakes. Why do they do that to truckers?

We drive our trucks to make a living, not to take lives away. If a driver can't see a trucker's face in the mirror, then he can't see the driver. We have families, too.

David C. Sharpe