There are certain additional steps you should take when driving around commercial trucks. They’re larger, they have a harder time stopping… Not to mention, commercial truck blind spots are much larger than that of your typical passenger vehicle. Riding in the blind spots of a commercial truck can be extremely dangerous. They can’t see you, therefore they can’t take you into consideration… So, you have to make yourself visible. You may not feel that it’s your job to account for other drivers on the road, and that’s understandable. However, not being visible to a tractor trailer can really only hurt you in the long run… So, think of it as looking out for yourself.
Commercial Truck Blind Spots: Staying Safe and Visible
Part of paying attention to the road, is paying attention to the drivers around you. Is someone texting? Swerving into your lane? Not signaling to change lanes? All of these little factors play into how safe the roadway is for you. So, paying attention to them can make a pretty big difference in your making it home safely. When it comes to tractor trailers, this does not change. Commercial truck blind spots are pretty easy to spot. In fact, many tractor trailers have a sign stating how to tell…
“If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you”
I’m sure you’ve glanced over this sign more than a few times, and to be honest— it’s quite telling. Use this as your rule of thumb with all trucks, regardless of the sign. If you can see their mirror, or their reflection in the mirror, they can see you! So, stay in that line of sight. You want to be as visible as possible to trucks, especially if you are a smaller vehicle or motorcycle.
Staying out of their blind spots ensures that you won’t be merged over on top of, for one big starter. However, it really just ensures that they know you’re there. Tractor trailers have a much lower visibility than the rest of us. So, do them a favor and be considerate of that! Many drivers are not. In fact, a majority of drivers feel threatened by trucks and try to speed around them. But, even this is dangerous. So, your best bet is to get comfortable with them! Learn how to drive around them, and stay visible. Doing so, will ensure that both of you can drive safely and make it to your destination without incident!
Whether on road trips or going to an area of town we are unfamiliar with, we use our G.P.S. In any case, paying attention to anything except the road is never safe. However, when it comes to navigating, sometimes it is a bit necessary. But what about for truck drivers? They need to navigate as well. But, it is slightly worrisome because it is distracted driving.
Distracted driving is never acceptable as it can cause a wreck. On the other hand, a fender bender differs greatly from an accident with a commercial truck. Because commercial trucks are large and weigh more, getting into an accident with one can end in serious personal injury. Therefore, there might be a higher risk when drivers are using G.P.S. No matter the speed we are at, crashes can occur. You never know what condition other drivers might be under, so it’s important that you drive defensively at all times.
Commercial Truck Drivers and G.P.S.: Is it Dangerous?
No doubt, Global Positioning Systems (G.P.S.) remain a beneficial piece of technology for drivers. Instead of looking at a map or piece of paper with printed out directions, they make travelling more convenient. Instead of having to take your eyes off the road, or pull over to read a map, you can hear the directions and follow them from a device or cell phone. This makes the act of traveling a bit easier, more precise, and can cut down on time. However, this doesn’t mean that a G.P.S. can’t help cause an accident.
The danger for truckers
For many tractor trailer drivers, G.P.S is not supplied to them. Therefore, they are having to use their personal devices. For a passenger vehicle, these devices are all well and good. However, tractor trailers have a bit more to account for. Small back roads, low-hanging bridges, curvy highways… therefore, a specific device is more well-suited to them and can take this into account. Not to mention, a mount for the device that keeps it at eye-level. G.P.S. is necessary for most drivers, and many tractor trailer drivers are driving long distances. Therefore, G.P.S. is a given. However, when not properly mounted or accounting for the tractor trailer, it can be dangerous to drivers.
The danger for passenger vehicles
Ultimately, the largest danger for passenger vehicles is when the driver becomes distracted or ends up on a bad road. In turn, maybe an accident occurs, a truck gets stuck under a bridge, or the road is too narrow and they slip off. When it comes down to it, there are some hefty implications for tractor trailer drivers that might not affect you. But, will heavily affect them.
In any case, if we glance over and see a semi truck driver distracted, it is best we keep our distance. Although we want to arrive at our destination in a timely manner, it is better safe than sorry. It only takes seconds for a crash to happen. However, keeping our distance gives us more time to make a move if need be.
Being a commercial driver comes with it’s own set of responsibilities. You are supposed to be the smartest, safest, most agile drivers on the road. And typically, you are. Driving a vehicle that’s more than twice the size of a passenger vehicle— tractor trailer drivers are practically modern- day superheroes. However, in the event that you might be drinking and driving, a Commercial Driver’s DUI has some pretty serious consequences. These large, potentially dangerous vehicles demand safe, alert drivers. As do the companies that hire you. So, in the event of a DUI, the punishment is pretty severe.
Commercial Driver’s DUI: What Does This Mean for My Career?
A First-Offense Equals Suspended CDL
The DMV will suspend a CDL when commercial drivers commit a major offense. These major offenses include DUIs, drug offenses, refusing a BAC, hit and runs, and using a commercial vehicle for a felony. A first offense suspends a CDL for a year.
Surprisingly, the DUI does not have to occur in a commercial vehicle. A suspension will occur when one of the following occurs. First, the driver receives a DUI in any vehicle. Second, the driver has a BAC of .04% while driving a commercial vehicle. Third, the driver refuses to submit to testing when pulled over in any vehicle. Therefore, a driver who holds a CDL must exercise caution and smart driving decisions at all times.
The Second Offense
The second offense is much more serious. Any second major offense (the ones listed above) suspends your CDL for life. Therefore, two DUIs suspend your CDL for life. The penalty is especially serious because it can cause you to lose your profession without the potential for return. Furthermore, you also face the jail time and fines associated with DUIs.
CDL As A Privilege
Having a CDL is a privilege that can be taken away if need be. If the DMV cannot trust you to make good decisions in a passenger vehicle, who’s to say you’ll do so behind the wheel of a big rig? The DMV operates with this type of mindset when it comes to CDL’s. Unlike most people, a commercial driver’s DUI has a direct effect on your day-to-day, profession, and income. So, if you’re facing a DUI and you have CDL, it’s important to speak with an attorney quickly.
Tailgating any vehicle, for any reason, is extremely dangerous. You risk causing a fender bender, or worse, depending on what type of vehicle you’re following too closely. When car drivers tailgate other vehicles, they shorten the distance. The shorter the distance, the shorter amount of time there is for a driver to stop in the event that they need to. One instance where this can be particularly dangerous, is if you’re tailgating a tractor trailer or other industrial vehicle. They’re much larger, much more proactive in stopping, and much harder to see around.
Tailgating Tractor Trailers: Why It’s Dangerous
Following too closely behind a truck is dangerous for a number of reasons. One of which, is that the truck driver may not be able to see you so they can’t adjust for your presence. Aside from this, you also can’t see what’s going on in front of that truck. Maybe traffic is stacking, an accident just occurred, or a speed limit reduction is coming up. For any of these situations, your visibility when tailgating would be way too close to tell. So, if the tractor trailer significantly reduces speed or stops quick, you very likely could hit them. While any type of accident is not ideal, rear-ending a tractor trailer can do some pretty serious damage. However, it’s not going to damage they vehicle…
The Mansfield, or DOT, Bar
There are plenty of things that can happen if you rear-end a truck. But one measure of these, once gruesome, accidents has been reduced through adaptations to the back end of tractor trailers. For one, many trucks nowadays have a DOT bar, or a Mansfield Bar. The Mansfield bar was crafted in the ’60s, after a Hollywood starlet and her lover perished in an accident.
On that evening, a thick fog covered the road, reducing visibility, and they rear-ended a tractor trailer. At the time, there was no measure in place to keep a car from going under the truck when they hit it. Therefore, after this terrible accident, a new safety measure came to be. A bar that would prevent vehicles from sliding underneath the tractor trailer in the event of an accident.
Death and Deadly Injury
Tailgating a tractor trailer serves no real purpose. Many times, when drivers are angry, they will tailgate a vehicle to prove a point. Speed up, pay more attention, or ‘you shouldn’t have passed me’. It seems quite common that those who tailgate, are trying to deliver a message. But, tractor trailers cannot see you. Therefore, they are not aware that you have an issue. So, riding their bumper can ultimately only hurt you.
Texting while driving in any vehicle is dangerous, to say the least. However, semi-truck texting and drive creates a greater danger on the road. The implication of their crashing is much more grave, therefore, their texting and driving can have a greater impact on the roadway. It’s not unusual for those who are driving long distances, and spending long periods of time on the road, to want to contact their families. Because of this, texting and driving can be quite tempting for truckers. However, finding an appropriate place and time to use your cell phone, is increasingly important for truckers…
Semi-Truck Texting and Driving: A Deadly Habit
Texting and driving remains the stigma for younger people. However, a majority of adults engage in the act from time to time. It doesn’t matter the vehicle, when you’re taking your eyes off the road, and hands off the wheel— bad things can happen. This just happens to increase tenfold when those eyes and hands are the director of a semi-truck. Commercial trucks take up more space, weigh more, and cause much more damage in a crash. Truck drivers are typically very safe drivers. But, in the event of a semi-truck texting and driving, they can create danger for everyone on the roadway.
Texting while driving is against the law, but that doesn’t mean people will stop.
Although against the law, many people will still text and drive until there is a system to stop it. You think you’re in control, you look down for one minute, and next thing you know, you’ve rear-ended a merging motorcycle. Texting and driving can be very tempting, especially on long-hauls. But, it’s important to understand the implication.
Combining a number of factors
Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the roadways. Long-haul trips, or even just working every day— it can get pretty monotonous and tiring. So, combine that fatigue with a cell phone, and the risk of accident becomes quite prevalent. In any case, texting and driving is extremely dangerous and can end in serious injury to yourself, or the person you hit. So, avoid it at all costs. If something is so important it must be handled or discussed right now, pull over. Your life, and the lives of others, are too valuable to be lost over a simple conversation.
Driving in an unfamiliar area is never an easy task for anyone. However, truck drivers must be on time to the right location to unload their trailers no matter the area. At any rate, truck drivers can speed to meet those deadlines, putting others on the road at risk. In other words, we cannot rely on truck drivers to always drive safely, especially when driving in unfamiliar areas.
Trucks Speeding in Unfamiliar Area: Taking an Uncalculated Risk
No one can ever predict what will happen on the roadways. But, knowing what’s what can do a great deal for helping you get from point A to point B more easily and quickly. Unfamiliar areas can be dangerous if you’re speeding. Think about it: you’re over the speed limit, you’re unfamiliar with your surroundings, and you never know when a large curve might come out of nowhere. So, risk is higher if you’re going faster.
Take for example, a truck driver who is speeding down a back road to make their delivery. If there is a sharp turn coming, the truck driver could flip if they do not know where it is. By speeding, they can easily miss signs warning drivers of sharp turns or bridges with weight limits. In short, when speeding in unfamiliar places, truck drivers are less aware of potentially dangerous roads.
We must depend on ourselves for safety, and hope for the best
You cannot depend on anyone to drive safely. Ultimately, it is up to every driver to do their part in being a safe driver. Truck drivers have deadlines, and will sometimes get ahead of themselves when it comes to speed. This is not every driver, and likely only happens on occasion. So, increase your following distance always. You never know when they’re in an unfamiliar area, so prepare for worst case scenario. Speeding is dangerous already, but speeding in an unfamiliar area increases the risk of a serious accident. So, drive safe, drive smart, and follow at a safe distance!