Sharing the Road with Trucks: When and Where to Stay Alert
The 2012 stats are in, and certain specific circumstances are leading to more truck or large bus accidents than others. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a good portion of injuries and fatalities happening in work zones are due to large trucks. Their document, entitled Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2012 states, “In 2012, 24 percent of work zone fatal crashes and 13 percent of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck.” This means that 37% percent of road worker accidents are due to trucks.The document goes on to discuss not only upon who most truck/large bus accidents affect, but when and where most of these accidents happen as well. Largely because of the average truck driver’s work schedule, the following times and locations are the most accident prone:Rural Roads and Rural/Urban Interstate Highways.-63% (roughly two-thirds) of fatal large-truck related accidents took place on rural roads. Furthermore, 24% happened on interstate highways. Altogether, that is 87% of crashes involving a large truck taking place on the high-speed open road. If you’d rather just avoid larger trucks, and the hazards that come with sharing the fast-paced highway with them, take a route through town when you can.Weekdays-83% of fatal crashes and 89% of nonfatal crashes took place during the week (Monday through Friday), rather than on weekends. Take caution during working hours/days for truck drivers - this means that during your morning commute, assume the truck driver nearest you has been behind the wheel for hours on end and keep a safe distance. As for your evening commute...Nighttime-77% of all truck-related crashes (fatal, injury causing, or property damaging) took place between the hours of 6pm and 6am. Breaking it down further, the FMCSA states that these nighttime accidents were, “36 percent of all fatal crashes, 23 percent of all injury crashes, and 18 percent of all property damage only crashes.” It’s hard for trucks to see or anticipate passenger cars and pedestrians during the day… this becomes even harder with the darkness of nighttime. Additionally, drivers become more and more exhausted as the days roll on into night, and their hours spent behind the wheel tick away. Increase your distance from the truck nearest you when it begins to get dark outside.Work Zones-As previously stated, work zones experience accidents all too often and as of 2012, roughly 37% of the time they involve a truck. Make sure you aren’t instigating any potential dangers with trucks when you travel through work zones alongside them. Remember, when lanes narrow and the road curves, the truck’s container may cross road lines, although its wheels may not. Stay out of blind spots and hang back until you have enough space and time to safely pass a truck.Learn more about Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts here in order to best promote the road safety of everyone on the road, as well as your own.