Commercial trucking is one of the top 10 deadliest industries in the United States. Although truck drivers face scores of hazards on the road every day, the holiday period is a particularly dangerous time to get behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer.
Northwest Louisiana sees its fair share of cold days during the month of December, and all it takes is one night of below-freezing temperatures to make the roads extra slick and dangerous to drive on. In addition to an increase in freight truck delivery vehicles on the roads, holiday travelers will be flooding the highways to visit distant loved ones. If you combine these hazards with an increase in drunk driving, then it’s easy to understand why designated drivers get nervous around the holidays.
Just like every other driver, commercial truckers have a duty to behave in a way that does not put other road users at risk. If a trucker breaches this duty of care, then he or she may be liable for any injuries that result. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in crashes in 2013. These crashes caused 95,000 serious injuries and 3,964 deaths.
If you will be driving over the holidays, you can reduce your risk of commercial truck & 18 wheeler accidents by following these five safety tips:
- Be Patient: You may run into congested holiday traffic, and you might fall behind schedule due to adverse weather. Do not let your schedule cause you to drive recklessly, and plan your route with extra time to make it to your destination.
- Avoid Distracted Driving: Texting, eating and drinking, gawking at billboards and adjusting climate controls can all contribute to accidents. According to the American Automobile Association, looking away from the road even for just two seconds can double your risk of crashing.
- Check Your Blind Spots before Changing Lanes: With more drivers on the road, there is a higher risk that your vehicle will be in a trucker’s blind spot. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, nearly 10 percent of large truck collisions are same-direction side-swipe accidents.
- Take Breaks: If you notice the signs of fatigue, pull over to a safe place and rest for at least 20 minutes. Pack some items to help keep you awake if you will be driving at night or during times with little rest.
- Do Not Speed: If the roads are slick, you will require a longer stopping distance. This increases the risk of causing a rear-end accident. You can avoid this by reducing your speed and extending your following distance.