Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


The Most Dangerous Driving Maneuvers


In the United States, nearly 50,000 people die each year on the roadways and,  according to recent statistics, over 22 million are injured.  As most of these are classified as “accidents,” what’s ironic is that  driving accidents are preventable.  Driving autos along our highways, roads and interstates are dangerous enough.  Add something as large and heavy as an 18-wheeler, and without the proper skills . . . we all know the carnage that can be left behind.

Stats prove that our nations truck drivers are some of the safest drivers on the road.  This is often not mentioned within the media because an “accident” that involves a big rig is, let’s face it . . . news.  As someone considering a career in professional trucking, you may want to ask, “what are the most dangerous driving maneuvers?”  Although answers will vary, I would like to point out the two most dangerous driving maneuvers out of two different driving situations:  (1) Interstate/Highway Driving . . . and . . . (2) City Driving:

Interstate/Highway driving is becoming more and more dangerous due to the amount of vehicles on the road today.  We simply have over crowded highways in many locations.  What maneuver do you believe is the most dangerous to perform while driving on the interstate or highway?  In my opinion, the most dangerous driving maneuver while on the interstate or highway would be – Changing Lanes.  We all know about the “blind spots” that big rigs have . . . how many times have we “looked” once and saw nothing coming, then we look away for a second, then, as we begin to change lanes, suddenly there is a car right beside us that wasn’t there a few seconds before?  When so many drivers are traveling at 70+ MPH, one can appear “out of nowhere” within a blink of an eye.  Changing lanes is the most dangerous driving maneuver while on  interstate/highway driving.

City driving opens up an entire other world of mishaps, incidents and accidents.  Maneuvering an 18-wheeler around in places where automobiles can barely fit sometimes, is challenging.  What is the most dangerous driving maneuver that a truck driver can face during city driving?   It would have to be any maneuver within an “intersection.”  Some reports show that over 80% of all city collisions involving injury or death occur within intersections.  Whether  you are driving straight through or making a left turn or a right turn, the majority of collisions at controlled intersections happen within 4 seconds of the light changing.   Also, since the average speed through an intersection is estimated to be over 50 MPH and the collision takes place against a side door, a greater result of injury or death takes place.

Slow down, look once, look twice, look three times if necessary, but never feel rushed by anyone to get through the intersection or to change lanes.  The “speeder” behind you can wait.  Always remember, it only takes a few more seconds to insure that all is clear and most importantly, all is safe!   Never forget the rules for Defensive Driving and trucking safety.  This will not only save your life, but the life of others. 

Allen Smith 

© 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 34 year veteran ( started at an early age in family moving business) of the trucking industry, many of those years spent over the road. He has been an owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and has owned and operated a moving company, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. One thing though that most will say is that the reason and motivation behind the author, Allen Smith, is the fact he is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. As you read many of the blog posts you’ll discover that he is opinionated and speaks openly about the ongoing issues of the trucking industry. He supports other fellow advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who are in need of honesty, guidance and direction. The list of supporters and like minded people grows daily and their ability to network together and share their thoughts and ideas for the betterment of others within trucking, has allowed the forward movement of... "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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