On November 4, 2016 a driver securing his load at ArcelorMittal in Burns Harbor, IN was stuck by the trailer of another driver. He was airlifted to a Chicago hospital but later died from his injuries.
This is a reminder to all of us that we need to pay attention to what is going on around us at all times; not just when driving but when loading, securing, inspecting, etc.. Always put safety first.
More off-road collisions occur while backing than at any other time. The biggest cause of backing collisions is driver error. All driver error collisions are preventable. Following these backing rules can prevent you from having a backing collision.
- Never back if you don’t have to. If possible, use parking places where you can pull straight out.
- Never back without KNOWING that it is clear behind you. NEVER ASSUME; GET OUT AND LOOK!
- After getting out to look, back before the situation changes.
- Back SLOWLY. Backing slowly gives you better steering control and time to stop if it becomes necessary.
- Always use a guide if available. If a guide is not available, get out and look several times during the backing maneuver.
Many turning collisions happen because of driver error. A driver guesses that his trailer will clear, but an error in judgment causes him to have a collision. Again, all driver error collisions are preventable.
To prevent a turning collision:
- DON’T GUESS! Know where your truck is going, especially on blind right turns.
- Check your mirrors at least 5 times while turning. If you’re not sure that your trailer will clear, STOP AND LOOK. It takes a little longer, but it prevents collisions.
- Block the inside of the turn with your trailer. A common cause of right turn collisions is allowing a vehicle to get between you and the curb. Collisions also happen on left turns. Usually the trailer runs over something that you thought it would clear. Carelessness is the only reason drivers have left turn collisions.
- LOOK where your trailer is going; KNOW that it will clear, and GO SLOWLY. Going slowly gives you more time to see and react to an unexpected situation.
- NEVER make a U-turn on any road or highway. U-turns always create unsafe situations. If you have missed a turn, proceed to the next street and go around the block, or find a safe place to safely turn around off the road.
- Give yourself time to react to bad situations. That is the essence of Defensive Driving.
When drivers are interviewed following an accident, one of the things that comes up frequently as a cause is that the driver was distracted from the duty of driving. Drivers can become distracted by other vehicles that are driving too slowly, hitting their brakes unnecessarily, or weaving back and forth in the lane. Sometimes it seems that these drivers are having a great game of "chicken" with the big truck.
Don't let these "games" distract you from your professional duties. If someone is playing games with you, or driving in an irresponsible manner, don't get angry or try to get even. This only hinders your ability to think and function in an emergency situation.
Your first priority is to drive and act in a safe manner, no matter what is happening around you. If this sort of thing happens, either drop back from the other vehicle, or if necessary, stop. Either of these solutions will remove the unsafe driving hazard and the distractions that are caused.
Don't be guilty of "road rage" style driving behaviors. Remember: "A mad mind can't think; and a mad mind can't do." You are the professional. Make sure your actions and reactions show that you have earned the title.