Semitruck safety has to be a priority for the truckers, the trucking company, and the clients who hire these companies. Truckers control those large rigs. Trucking companies are responsible because they set the protocol for their employees. Clients should also care because trying to force unrealistic delivery times can lead to the drivers having to take unsafe measures.
While these vehicles are on the roads, truckers have to ensure that they are fully able to control the vehicle. Part of this means taking evasive maneuvers when necessary to avoid getting into an accident. Lack of proper evasive action can lead to a safety-critical event.
Trucker distraction is never acceptable
No trucker should ever have distractions that make it difficult for them to pay close attention to the road. Distractions include using a phone, eating while driving, reaching for things in the cab, taking care of personal grooming or even looking at billboards. They must also avoid driving if they are fatigued.
One of the best ways that a trucker can avoid having an incident is to scan ahead of their vehicle. This should give them time to react to potential hazards. It is a good idea for all drivers, truckers included, to brush up on possible reactions to common road hazards so they can take the best one if they are placed in that situation.
Special considerations for truckers
It takes semitrucks longer to stop than it takes smaller vehicles. It takes .75% of a second for the human brain to tell the foot to leave the accelerator and depress the brake. A semi moving at highway speeds can travel around 60 feet in that time. Because of this, the driver should look at least 15 seconds ahead of their vehicle so they have adequate distance to stop if traffic comes to a halt. If they aren’t going to be able to do this, they need to make a split-second decision about veering into another lane or onto the shoulder.
In 6.6% of crashes involving two vehicles in which one was a passenger vehicle and one was a semitruck, improper evasive action was a contributing factor. Unfortunately, the victims of these crashes probably have injuries that they need to address. They might opt to seek compensation for those injuries and the financial damages.