Driving a commercial truck is hard work. Furthermore, driving around commercial trucks can be intimidating to many. We know that you have to be a superior driver to get behind the wheel of a big rig, but accidents will happen. While we can take steps to prevent an ‘oops’, we aren’t always so lucky. One potentially deadly hazard for truckers and drivers, is a tire blowout. We expect the standard wear and tear, especially on a vehicle that is so large, and traveling so much. But, as tires age, or if you’re skipping maintenance, a tire blowout can become serious for all drivers.
Tire Blowout: A Dangerous Accident
One of the most dangerous things about a tire blowout, is that they can occur out of nowhere. Maybe the tire has become a bit deflated, or worn down. Next thing you know, rubber hits the roadway and cars start to scramble. One of the largest saving graces for big rigs, is that they typically have a lot more tires than a passenger car does. Therefore, they usually have enough time to get off of the roadway, and repair the issue without too much skin off their back. However, it’s not so simple for other drivers.
Nearby vehicles will likely hear a loud ‘pop’ or ‘bang’ sound, and shreds of black rubber will scatter across the roadway and into the path that vehicles are traveling at high speed. These shreds of rubber serve as a distraction, a hazard to drivers, and can cause damage to other vehicles.
What causes this issue?
Ultimately, wear and tear is the root of this issue most of the time. For passenger car vehicles, we typically aren’t driving cross country on a daily basis. Therefore, while we need to replace our tires on occasion, a truck driver will need to replace a bit more frequently. Their tires are built to last longer than our vehicles. But, they’ll often reach that ‘time to change’ marker a bit quicker than we will. Ultimately, performing routine maintenance and quality checks on your tractor trailer can be pretty telling. If you notice wear on your treads, or repetitive flat tires, it might be time to go ahead and update those wheels.
Accidents will always happen, and sometimes they cannot be easily explained. However, by performing routine maintenance, we can prevent at least a few of them. Furthermore, as a passenger car driver, make plans for the ‘what if’. You might never have to use those plans. But, knowing your plan of action if you see a tire blowout can make a huge difference in your reaction time. Not to mention, it can go a long way to prevent potential damage to yourself or the vehicle.
Truck driving is a difficult job for a number of reasons. From the long driving hours, to back pain, truck stop food, and making sure you hit your marks— it’s not a job for the faint of heart. Because of these factors, and many others, there’s a large need for drivers within the field. Furthermore, because there’s a large need for truck drivers and not too many applicants, many companies are looking for other solutions. That’s where self-driving trucks come in. The idea would be to automate certain parts of the long-haul, and there are many practical uses for this new technology…
Self-driving Trucks: Practical Uses for the Technology
The first concern that current truckers might have about this technology is what becomes of my job? Well, the idea would be for these automated systems to work alongside truckers, rather than eliminate them altogether. While, to most, this may feel skeptical, this idea has been central to development from the start…
Taking Over the highways
One of the most practical uses for this technology, is to allow them to take over on the highways. In the case of a self-driving vehicle, highways present the ideal condition. Think about it: No stoplights, street crossings, practically a straight shot, and a mostly steady flow of traffic. In short, besides traffic patterns, driving on the highway doesn’t present too many obstacles. Not to mention, these are some of the most dangerous stretches for a driver to drive on. It’s long, unchanging, and can become hypnotic— especially to a tired driver. Therefore, by taking this bit out of their route, it gives drivers a chance to rest up. Which, in turn, can reduce the number of driver fatigue accidents.
Being that drivers would now have a chance to better maintain their rest, trucking safety and awareness should increase quite a bit. Furthermore, these self-driving trucks recognize a 360 degree view of the traffic around them. Therefore, it’s less of a guessing game when it comes to switching lanes, and interacting with the vehicles around them.
Gain great fuel efficiency
According to several studies, self-driving trucks should reduce fuel cost by roughly 10%. One way companies intend to do this is by driving their trucks in a tight line. By sticking to this formation, trucks should experience less wind resistance and get better gas mileage. Because the vehicle is self-driving, it would be able to better accomplish this than, say, a driver could.
The practical uses for self-driving trucks are more of what is the industry is focusing on. At some point, the trucks may be able to operate fully without drivers. But for now, makers are concerned with improving the quality and production of the driver, not ousting them completely.
It used to be fun as a kid— you were riding the school bus and a big truck goes by. All the kids pump their arms in hopes that the truck driver will humor you and honk. We’ve all seen it, and likely done it at some point in our lives. However, as we get older and driving on the roadway becomes more serious, those distractions can become dangerous. Distracting truckers by asking them to honk, or being caught off guard by a loud airhorn, can be dangerous for all drivers.
Distracting Truckers: Save the Horn for Safety
Eyes off the road
One major issue with getting a trucker’s attention to do something silly, is that their eyes leave the roadway. Even if just for a second, distracting truckers can cause a major issue. Most of them will be able to multitask and do this if asked. After all, it’s for the kids. But, in that off-chance that they take their eyes off the road, just as someone merges right into their front bumper… big trouble. So, all in all, let those truckers keep their eyes on the road. They have enough distractions already without trying to entertain your children.
However, you cannot control the actions of others
While you might not have considered this before, and now definitely aim to stop playing this game— others might not. Therefore, you might be following the rules and being courteous, but others might not. So, you have to account for that. Keep your distance from large trucks, and don’t drive in their blind spots. Most of them are model drivers, but that is not always the case. Whether they lose focus, control, or it’s at the hands of someone else— there is the potential for accident at all times. The best thing you can do is drive, and set your following distance, accordingly.
Only the truck driver can control whether or not he or she becomes distracted. But, the added distractions don’t make it any easier. At the end of the day, that truck driver will decide whether to honor your request or not. So, drive safe, be on guard, and expect that something like this may occur. By doing so, you’ll be more prepared for an unexpected occurrence.
When driving a semi-truck, one of the most difficult things to do is be specially aware. Furthermore, backing semi-truck’s safely can be a pretty big task; much bigger than on a passenger vehicle. You have a big box blocking your vision, a lot less room for movement, and in turn, a simple task becomes much more difficult. In fact, backing up in a semi-truck remains a leading cause in trucking accidents. But for the most part, these accidents are nearly always avoidable by taking the right steps when reversing. So, we’ve put together a few backing up tips to help you reverse successfully, and safely.
Backing Semi-Truck’s Safely: Tips for Successful Driving
Avoid Blind Side Backing
One of the biggest mistakes a trucker can make in backing up semi-truck’s safely, is to try blind side back. In short, blind side backing refers to backing to the right side of the truck. Since drivers have significantly less vision on the right side, it can be dangerous to back that way. In those cases when you have no other option, it’s best to get out of your truck and check with your own eyes. By seeing for yourself, you have a better understanding of the space you’re working with. In addition, you can spot any potential vehicles or obstructions that can result in accident.
Avoid Using A Spotter
During these times when you are struggling to back up, a lot of people may offer to help. But for the most part, you probably should avoid using an outsider’s help in this case. While they have good intentions, they may not be capable of helping. If your spotter is not a truck driver themselves, they will not be able to judge the way in which your truck will fit into the intended spot. So, unless you have a fellow truck driver with you, it’s best not to trust anyone’s judgement on where you’re at. If you need assistance in finding the right space, we suggest getting out and checking your space on your own.
When driving a large vehicle, you have to trust your own judgement. While someone can be a good passenger vehicle driver, they do not understand what it takes to drive a semi-truck unless you’ve been there yourself. So, trust your own judgement, spot for yourself, and make sure you’re comfortable before backing up.
There are few devices in a vehicle that serve no purpose, well, maybe those little coin slots in older vehicles. However, other than those small cosmetic devices, every aspect of your vehicle is meant to aid your driving in some way. One of those devices that we should pay particular attention to, is our turn signals. A turn signal tells other drivers what to expect of you and when to yield to you. Your blinkers are there to make the roadway function more clearly. So, it is of particular importance that commercial trucks use these religiously as well. Making a move with a commercial truck requires more time and space than a regular car. So, making it known to other vehicles that you are switching lanes, or turning at a light, can help them to better prepare for this and give you the appropriate amount of space.
Commercial Trucks: Turn Signals and Other Safety Moves
It’s hard to predict what other drivers might do on the roadway. So, ultimately, protecting yourself on the roadway just means doing your part. Signal, proper following distance, paying attention to what’s happening on the road ahead— doing these things as an individual, is really all you can do as a passenger vehicle driver. However, commercial drivers have a whole other set of responsibility on their hands.
For one, your vehicle can do a lot of damage if anything were to occur. And we understand that you can’t prepare for how many people drive when commercial trucks are around them. Many people, are just plain scared. Therefore, they tend to drive a little more erratically— from speeding around you, cutting you off, or just getting aggressive. Therefore, doing your part, just like anyone else doing theirs— is all you can do. Keeping your eyes on the roadway is extremely important.
Passenger Vehicle Drivers: Use Commercial Drivers as Your Guide!
Commercial trucks can be a great tool for you on the roadway!! So many people don’t realize it, but tractor trailer drivers are some of the best drivers on the road. They also have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening around all of you. You see them begin to slow down but aren’t witnessing a pile up? You can generally trust that they are. Traffic starting to stack and you see a truck merge from the far right lane into the middle? You might want to assume that the problem is in that lane. Using your turn signals is a top priority for every driver, especially commercial trucks. However, there
We can’t predict how other drivers might behave, but we can all do our part
You can give yourself more distance between vehicles; you also may pay attention to the flows of traffic— but we all know things just happen sometimes. This is why we mention turn signals in particular, along with other safety measures. You don’t know how other drivers might be thinking, but using a turn signal is a little look into that. It tells you what a driver’s intentions are. Therefore, it helps you prepare for what might have otherwise been a dangerous of erratic move. You have the ability on the roadway to be a smart and careful driver, and so does everyone else. But, at the end of the day, you only have control over you. So, do your part! And when others don’t do theirs, call us if you need us.
Driving on interchanges with commercial trucks can sometimes be quite unsafe. It’s not their fault, it’s just that interchanges are typically already a bit tight. So, having a commercial truck on a packed interchange can create some pretty tight spaces. In turn, accidents may occur under the right, or wrong, conditions. These interchanges can help keep the flow of traffic moving efficiently, and easily. However, that is not always the case…
Interchanges and Truck-Related Accidents
Every experienced driver knows that, when next to a commercial truck, the road can begin to feel a little bit tighter. It’s not their fault— commercial trucks range in size, but one consistent is that they’re much larger than a passenger vehicle. Therefore, they take up much more of the roadway, and when turns become tight and you’re on the inside lane beside a truck, it can feel pretty dangerous.
Because interchanges lose space when trucks drive on them, there is a higher chance of accidents happening. However, car drivers cannot always avoid interchanges, or predict when trucks will merge onto them, and avoid that time. If trucks turn too fast or too wide, it can cause an accident. For these reasons, there are some precautions car drivers can take to ensure safety.
How do we safely share interchanges with commercial trucks?
For one, drivers can slow down or speed up to make sure that they are not in the truck driver’s blind spot. Additionally, car drivers can also reduce speed and create cushion between themselves, and the truck. By allowing commercial trucks to get ahead of us, we lower our chances of involvement in an accident. If the truck executes a turn too wide or begins to swerve, we can react to these potential dangers by being far enough away from them to adjust.
However, the fault is not always that of the commercial truck drivers’. Rather, how other people drive around those trucks. Every drive reacts differently to the presence of a larger vehicle. To put it plan and simply— many people drive terribly around larger vehicles out of fear. They’re scared, so they speed, jump in front of the trucks, or misjudge the distance between them and the truck, and panic.
Although we can always take necessary measures for safety, the world can still throw a curve ball.
Sometimes we practice the best driving habits possible, and other drivers hit us. Unfortunately, when truck drivers hit cars, the accidents can result in serious injury. As a result, we can only drive safely, but we cannot be entirely sure other drivers will too. So, your best bet is to be prepared for potential accidents. Familiarize yourself with the roadways you’ll be driving on, avoid what you’re uncomfortable with, and ultimately, do what you can to protect yourself. You have options, and ultimately, accidents will still happen. However, if you drive safely and smart, you can avoid some of them.