How can 18-wheelers be safer on the road?

Companies that employ commercial drivers have the responsibility to ensure that they hire the safest drivers possible. They also must provide sufficient training so their drivers don’t pose hazards on the road from making poor decisions behind the wheel.

Below are some tips for commercial drivers to remain safe while traveling down the highway.

  • Hang up the phone. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that there is a 37 percent decrease in the necessary brain activity relating to driving skills when a driver talks on the phone behind the wheel.
  • Pay attention to road conditions that affect driving. Inclement weather conditions are a contributing factor in 25 percent of fatalities involving big rigs that are speed-related.
  • Wear the seat belt. Drivers who forgo wearing their safety belts are nearly 25 times as likely to die from being ejected from their vehicle.
  • They’re called “blind spots” for a reason. Drivers of 18-wheelers need to constantly scan the road for cars approaching in their blind spots. This is especially important when turning, merging and changing lanes.
  • Slow down. Companies that set up impossible deadlines for their drivers contribute to the problem of speeding on the interstates. Trucks must follow the speed limit and go even slower on curved entrance and exit ramps to avoid tilting over.
  • Anticipate stops. Paying attention to traffic patterns ahead can afford a big rig the extra time needed to stop to avoid a deadly collision.
  • Get plenty of rest. Studies have shown that drivers who are awake for 18 hours have the slowed reaction times of someone with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent.

Those who have been hurt in accidents with commercial trucks have recourse through the Florida civil court system to seek damages from the at-fault driver and potentially, the company that employs him or her.

Source: American Family Insurance, “Truck Driving Safety Tips,” accessed May. 27, 2015