Driver Safety Becoming More of a Concern

truck crash

Over the years, Decades, actually, driver safety has been one of how they load and unload, and how they operate safely on the road. Both go hand-in-hand with one another. But, today, things have shown a greater need of change, and what in the military is called, Situational Awareness. The reason for this sudden need to change (?), given the last number of years where drivers have been killed by thugs for what little money they had on them when they parked for a nights rest, or been held up on a truck-stop parking lot after having gotten fuel and a cash advance, or had their loads and rigs high-jacked, we now have a new problem, that has occurred over the last several months.

Truckers, while traveling down the nations roads, are being shot and killed, and even having objects thrown at them from overpasses, or passing vehicles, which have ended up in numerous deaths and serious injuries that have contributed to truck crashes. Whether these incidents have been the result of aggressive driving on the part of one party or the other, truckers now need to be even aware of who, and what, is going on around them, and to take even more care as to how and when they react to different situations.

Aggressive driving is not just cause by one side of the driving spectrum, it happens on all sides, including truck drivers as well. It involves tailgating, which has involved numerous deaths due to driver inattentiveness, or just being in too big a hurry to get someplace. Making unsafe lane changes which result in cutting other drivers off and sometimes forcing the other driver to take evasive actions to avoid a collision. Failing to Yield to the right of way when entering the highway from another. Failing to use turn signals, properly or even not at all, to alert others following that you intend, or are going to make a lane change or turn. And even shouting at, or using “sign language” towards other drivers who may have committed the traffic offense, which often aggravates the situation even more, and very possibly, has led to more recent incidents of the shooting deaths of truckers while on the move.

The most recent incidents have happened in the Chicago area, with at least two deaths happening on the beltways around the city, and the most recent having taken place in California, where the driver was found to have been shot and killed. Whether this was due to aggressive driving, gang violence, or just a chance happening, we may never know. But taking the proper steps to drive as safely as possible, and not bringing emotions into play if someone else does “The stupid” routine, could well keep something from happening.

Sadly, this article will not make it out to the eyes of everyone out there that drives any kind of vehicle, but hopefully, it will reach enough people to make a difference. Your life, and the lives of others are almost literally up for grabs right now, and in today’s society, where everyone is in a huge hurry to get someplace as fast as possible, with truckers being the “big, slow-moving, pile of junk” that’s in the way.

80,00 pounds of rolling truck cannot,… stop on a dime, turn on a dime, or take off or maneuver like a race car. They are huge machines that require concentration and effort to get them from place to place, all with the operator of the rig doing so as safely as possible. And everyone needs to more attentive and observant of what is going on around themselves, and give one another the space they need to get from point A to point B as safely as possible.

For the trucker, doing so is now an even higher need, as they are scrutinized more heavily than any other driver on the roadways, and increasing their vigilance while driving has become even more necessary today. So my advice is to slow down, and not get in the hurry that everyone else is in. Let the other vehicle get around you as safely as you can and even slow down to give yourself room between yourself and the passing vehicle. Do your best to keep your emotions in check so as not to bring greater risk into the situation. Hopefully, incidents can and will be avoided, but the responsibility may well rely on what You do, and not the “other guy.”

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Hal Kiah

Hal is a 20+ year OTR Veteran driver and a 12 year military police veteran. He has also served as a dispatcher and has been a trainer for new Over The Road Heavy Haul drivers. Hal has performed “FHWA” inspections (now called DOT Inspections) . He has been instrumental in the last few years, aiding and mentoring other drivers via social media and personal communications as founder of Truck Driving Career, on Facebook and has a passion and goal of seeing that drivers are respected and recognized for their efforts and sacrifices in the trucking industry, recognizing that trucking is a Lifestyle, and not just a job.