It’s always so sad to hear any time the news reports on truck accidents. With how massive trucks are and how difficult they are to regain control of once it’s been lost, most truck accidents seem to end in tragedy. Did you know that there are approximately 1,000 truck-related accidents each year in the state of Illinois, with about 10% of them ending in fatality? That’s nearly 100 deaths each year just in one state. There is a lot of unpredictability surrounding large trucks, so you must do what you can to protect yourself.
Be Wary of Hazardous Driving
Surely, when driving behind big eighteen-wheeler trucks, you’ve noticed the little sign on the back doors that says something along the lines of “How’s my driving?” with a phone number to call to report any issues. Utilizing this and calling in to make reports can help keep you and other drivers on the road safe since it holds truck drivers responsible for their negligent behavior.
Some truck drivers will drive at speeds well over the legal limit to make their deadlines, getting uncomfortably close to other cars to try to hurry them out of the way. This sort of reckless driving can greatly increase the chances of their being an accident, since it will not only make it more difficult for the driver to regain control of the truck if they lose it, but also because this behavior makes other drivers nervous, and makes them more likely to make a mistake in their driving, causing an accident.
In other cases of hazardous driving, you might notice that a truck driver is struggling to stay on their side of the road, maybe swaying in and out of their lane. This is something that could be very important to call and report since it might mean the driver is struggling to stay awake.
If a driver falls asleep at the wheel, then there’s a risk that the truck will crash and flip, which could not only cause it to hit other cars, but it could catch fire and potentially leak harmful substances on the road–depending on the cargo that it’s carrying. There are many crashes caused by UPS drivers each year for this reason. UPS drivers, and drivers for other mail services, are forced to work absurdly long shifts, especially around the holidays, and some end up falling asleep behind the wheel both on the highway and in residential neighborhoods. The size and weight of these vehicles can lead to a lot of damage, so it’s important to be wary of them.
Follow the Rules of the Road
It should go without saying that you should always drive responsibly by following the rules of the road. Each time you get behind the wheel, you are taking on the duty of protecting not only yourself and everyone in your car, but every other driver on the road as well.
You mustn’t speed, you leave appropriate following distance between you and other drivers, and you refrain from letting yourself be overcome by emotions–ie. road rage–while behind the wheel. You should also minimize distractions while driving.
Do not text or call while driving, and put your phone on airplane mode, or ‘do not disturb’ if you feel that you really can’t control yourself.
You should also try to minimize the amount of time that you spend fiddling with the car’s radio. To do this, consider making a playlist for while you drive full of songs that you love and will be unlikely to feel the urge to skip.
Take Extra Caution Around Trucks
While you should, of course, always exercise caution while driving by following the rules of the road, there are extra precautions you should take around trucks. Big eighteen-wheel trucks function a lot differently from normal passenger cars–which is why you must acquire a separate license to be able to drive them.
Trucks have far more blind spots than passenger cars, so you can’t always trust that they see you when you’re near them. To protect yourself, you should try to familiarize yourself with their biggest blindspots, and, if you’re struggling to remember them in the heat of the moment, look for the truck’s mirrors. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, then the driver can’t see you.
You should also take precautions when passing a truck. It’s not recommended that you cut anyone off while driving, but this is even more true for truck drivers. It’s much more difficult for big trucks to slow down quickly, so if you are trying to sneak by a truck with only a little bit of space, just know that you’re unnecessarily putting yourself in harm’s way.