A dangerous truck driver is more than just a menace to him or herself. When you have 80,000 lbs (40 tons) of metal hurtling down the road at you, then even moving at 30 mph, the impact can be catastrophic to more than one vehicle at once if not fatal to all - and that’s without a load in the trailer!
The stopping length for a semi is 40% greater than for cars so truck drivers have to be extra alert and extra careful when driving on highways and roads, especially when bobtailing (driving without a trailer attached) because the truck handles differently, and is more dangerous in wet conditions than a truck with a tractor-trailer attached. Driving a truck with its 12 gears is much more challenging than a normal 6 speed car, and requires a double-floating clutch technique that is difficult to master. That combined with more complicated turns, stops, and driving conditions means that a semi can be a moving death trap in the wrong hands.
How can you spot a dangerous truck driver, and what should you do about it.
Sudden Lane Changes
If you spot a semi making sudden lane changes when there’s been no sudden obstacle, then you need to stay clear. Sudden lane changes could indicate the driver is fatigued or not adequately paying attention to the road. Either pass the truck driver so you’re well away from the vehicle, exit at the next exit and take a break, or stay well behind (although this position could put you in potential danger in the event of a pile up).
Doesn’t Use Turn Signals
If the driver of a semi fails to use turn signals, this lack of action is incredibly dangerous as it cannot alert those around him or her what will happen next. If the driver doesn’t use a signal, but goes into lanes at random, then stay well away. It could indicate the driver is fatigued or simply careless, but, either way, this type of driver is a menace.
Goes Through Red Lights
Running red lights - or even amber lights about to turn to red - is dangerous for any driver, but especially semi trucks since they are much longer than cars. If a driver at a four-way intersection isn’t paying attention to the semi running the light, then a car can hit the semi, causing damage to him or herself, or - worse - the semi could hit a car going through the light on green when they thought the path was clear. Always be alert when lights change and make sure the intersection is clear before proceeding. Report any semi drivers who run red lights.
Swerving on the Road
If you see a semi swerving, then stay back. If you’re on a highway and can get around the driver try and get around, and alert the police of the dangerous driver. Since trucks take longer to stop, and have a longer vehicle body overall, swerving - depending on road conditions - can cause accidents from sweeping cars off the road to a more dangerous jackknifing of the semi itself (where the trailer swerves around and unavoidably meets with the cab at a 45 degree angle).
Speeding and/or Going to Slow
A dangerous truck driver can alternate between speeding and going too slow. Speeding is, of course, the more dangerous of the two. If the driver seems to be speeding, then make sure you stay back until the vehicle passes you and is out of sight. Report the incident to the police as the driver could cause an accident. If the driver is going too slow, try and get around the vehicle; however, a slow-moving driver is potentially hazardous because the driver may not be paying attention to surroundings.
Unaware of Weather Conditions
If a semi driver is driving too fast for conditions or in a manner that is unsafe, report the vehicle to the police. Driving a semi is difficult, and should only be undertaken by those who have a track record of safe driving, and who have been trained especially to handle the more difficult driving conditions and strain of long-haul driving. Any driver not paying attention to weather conditions - too much sun, ice, snow, rain, wind, storms, and so forth - can be a danger to others on the road. Again, avoid driving too close to this type of dangerous driver, and report anything menacing to the police.
What do I do if I’ve been hit by a dangerous truck driver?
Make sure you call the police, and report your accident as accurately as possible. Try recording a video, adn taking verbal notes as well as memory can be infallible. Next, contact a trusted attorney to help you with your case.
At Coxwell & Associates we have over 35 years of experience winning personal injury cases. Contact us for a free case consultation today.