Dale Jackson has always been passionate about the open road. In order to help other people realize their dreams, he writes for Capital Solutions, who specialize in a commercial truck financing.
Insurance companies and claim lawyers are always trying to assign blame for accidents involving commercial trucks. Depending on who they’re representing, passenger car drivers are either helpless victims of these giant monsters or ignorant drivers who don’t know how to share the road with dangerous but useful means of transport. Truck drivers are either servants of their community trying their hardest or sleep-deprived bums who constantly put people in danger.
None of this stereotyping and blame assignment addresses the actual problem. There are dangers on the road. Sometimes people are to blame for accidents and sometimes they aren’t. What is important is that we do what we can to prevent accidents from happening and lives being lost. This can be done by learning and practicing safe driving habits, but also by establishing law and requirements that make the road a safer place.
Both commercial truck drivers and passenger car drivers can make several steps toward a safer road. The first is vigilance. It is common knowledge that trucks have significant blind spots. This makes it important for truck drivers to allow for plenty of time when switching lanes. Car drivers should be aware of where blind spots are and be sure not to stay in them for extended amount of time.
But another way to combat blind spots is to attempt to minimize them. Cab, trailer, and mirror designs could all be modified in order to improve sight range. These changes could be applied to new trucks as they are created and perhaps to existing trucks as they get repaired and upgraded. Drivers should push for research in the improvement of visibility issues and overall safety of commercial trucks.
The other main safety issue with the trucks themselves is brakes. While most trucks go through inspection often enough that the brakes are usually in good condition, it is an unavoidable fact of life that trucks cannot stop as quickly as cars. So when cars attempt to cut off trucks and then slam on their brakes, things don’t end well. You may want to pass a truck, but sometimes it’s better to wait until you have more room to do so safely.
Truck drivers should also combat their brake time by maintaining a safe following distance and staying alert of what drivers around them are doing. Driving such a dangerous machine means that there is an added responsibility to be extra cautious.
The Bigger Picture
While we are personally responsible for our driving habits, there are bigger issues that can affect the number of accidents. Many states are considering raising speed limits right now. While the average driver may be rejoicing, this could be a very dangerous move. There are places that trucks simply should not go over 65 mph. While it is true that the speed limit is not a requirement, truckers may feel pressured by other drivers to go more quickly. Increased speed limits could also increase driver frustration when stuck behind a truck going less than the established limit. We have to ask whether or not speed is more important than safety.
Other major issues that affect driver safety are road quality and construction. By reporting unsafe stretches of road and making sure you are aware of construction going on in the area you are driving through, you can contribute to making the roads safer.
Sharing the road is a necessary part of life. Instead of worrying about the speed with which you get to your destination, allot some extra time and take some measures to make sure everyone can arrive at their destination safely.