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.
© 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.