What 5 Signs Can Help You Avoid Unsafe Commercial Truck Drivers?
Most drivers of trucks and other commercial vehicles strive to maintain sound driving and safety practices. However, a poor night’s sleep, undiagnosed medical event, or changing medication can transform a typically safe and responsible truck driver into a highway safety hazard. While such a drastic swing in driving ability is likely fairly rare, it can and does occur. Therefore, all motorists must be vigilant in protecting themselves and maintain careful observance of all surrounding vehicles. This constant scanning is especially important when it comes to commercial vehicles because the high speeds of highway travel combined with the size and weight of 18-wheelers and semis mean that when commercial truck accidents occur, the injuries produced are typically severe or fatal.
Therefore, all drivers should maintain careful watch for dangerous driving behaviors that may be evidence of hazardous underlying conditions or other problems. Keep a lookout for these five dangerous truck driving behaviors. In particularly egregious cases when the motorist believes that the health and safety of other drivers are at risk, the motorist may even be justified in contacting 9-1-1 or the local emergency services.
1. The Truck is Swerving In and Out Of Travel Lanes
A truck driver who is unable to maintain his or her lane can potentially be experiencing an array of problems, medical issues, or equipment issues. A truck driver who is swerving may be particularly fatigued, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or having an adverse reaction to prescription medication. In other cases, the truck itself may be experiencing mechanical issues due to insufficient maintenance or a problem that developed spontaneously on the road.
A swerving truck is extremely dangerous because of the unpredictability of this driving behavior. Passing the truck can seem to be harrowing while remaining behind the truck can be just as dangerous should the vehicle overturn or jackknife.
2. The Trucker Is Tailgating or following Too Closely
Due to the significantly increased stopping distances of large, commercial vehicles, following too closely is extremely dangerous and is a surefire sign that the motorist should attempt to get away from the truck. A truck driver who follows too closely may be inexperienced driving a vehicle of this type and greatly underestimate the amount of space he or she needs to bring the vehicle to a stop. In other circumstances, the truck may simply be in a rush and make a poor decision regarding emphasizing making a delivery over safety concerns.
3. The Trucker is Driving Outside of the Lane on the Grooved Rumble Strip
While nearly every driver would probably admit to straying onto the grooved “rumble strip” that lines most highways, the incursion out of the lane is typically brief and corrected nearly immediately. However, sometimes you may see a driver riding on either the reflectors between the lanes or on the rumble strip on the side of the road. This practice is sometimes referred to as “driving by braille” and is often a sign of an extremely tired or intoxicated driver. If you see a commercial driver engaging in this practice, be sure to steer clear.
4. Items Shifting on or Falling Off the Truck
It may come as no surprise that a truck driver with unsecured or improperly secured cargo can present a hazard to all other vehicles on the road. However, many drivers do not consider that unsecured cargo can represent merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to safety problems. If the trucking company’s safety and security policies are so lax as to allow a truck out onto the highway with insufficiently secured cargo, it is also possible that other practices regarding vehicle maintenance are insufficient. Insufficiently maintained vehicles may be subject to unexpected and unintended operations and may not perform as expected.
5. The Truck Is Traveling at Excessive Speeds
While many drivers will admit that they have traveled at excessive speeds at some point in their lifetime, doing the same in a commercial truck is exceedingly more dangerous. While driving above the speed limit always presents an increased risk of a crash or other injury, significantly more can go wrong in a commercial truck. A fully loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and the heat and friction caused by higher than allowed speeds of travel can increase the odds of a tire blow-out. Likewise, any time a vehicle travels at high rates of speed the margin for error decreases. While this poses a problem with any motor vehicle, it is an especially large problem for an 80,000 pound, 75-foot long commercial truck.
Injured in a Commercial Truck Crash?
If you have suffered a serious injury in an accident with a commercial truck, you potentially have legal options to make the responsible parties financially accountable for your injuries. To speak to strategic and aggressive commercial truck accident lawyers call 800 896-6173 today.