It is easy to blame truckers for accidents in San Bernardino and throughout California. It is also often wrong.
You and the vast majority of other commercial truckers are safe drivers. The problem is, other motorists fail to adjust their driving habits around big rigs.
What motorists should know
A loaded 18-wheeler can weigh 80,000 pounds. Even if you are a seasoned trucker, it can be difficult for you to maneuver in traffic. Motorists add to your risk by:
- Driving where you have limited or no visibility
- Changing lanes without warning in front of your truck
- Passing you on the right when you are making a right turn
- Misjudging your speed when making a left turn in front of your truck
- Passing without regard to safety
- Failing to adjust their speed when you begin to change lanes or merge
- Failing to speed up enough when pulling into traffic in front of your truck
What you already know
To be fair, truckers sometimes are at fault. You must always be alert for potential dangers. Long hours behind the wheel can dull your attention.
Keep your training up to date. Technology changes, and you must adjust your driving techniques, practicing safe and defensive driving.
You must abide by laws limiting the number of hours you can drive and mandating rest periods. You need to coordinate with trucking companies that may have unrealistic delivery schedules. The conversation may be awkward, but it is necessary.
When you need help
Your trucking accident, by its very nature, is going to attract attention. Your big rig can cause great damage and loss of life. If you are lucky, you have a trucking company and insurance company standing behind you. Investigators can determine that you are not to blame for a crash.
You can also run into problems. An injured motorist is not going to acknowledge that she or he caused the accident. Your livelihood could be at stake. When that happens, know your options.