The semi-trucks that fuel our consumer-driven economy and swarm our highways and byways are involved in some of the most dangerous traffic accidents. The vast size differential between cars and semis, alone, makes any accident involving a big rig exceedingly dangerous. Further, truck drivers are professional drivers who are held to strict federal, state, and industry standards. If you witness a truck driver who is maneuvering his or her rig dangerously, you owe it to yourself and to everyone else on the road to alert the authorities – you could help save a life.
You know a dangerous driver when you see one, and the same signs apply to truck drivers. Several common warning signs include:
- Speeding – The greater the speed, the more dangerous the accident. When a trucker exceeds the posted speed limit – or drives at a speed that is not safe in relation to the weather or the condition of the road – the danger increases exponentially.
- Drifting – Nearly every driver drifts a bit from time to time, but when a commercial trucker allows his or her rig to drift outside of the lane, the potential danger is immense.
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving is dangerous driving. When a truck driver is distracted, it makes dangerous accidents that much more likely. Signs of distraction include any indication that the trucker is not paying attention to the road, such as not responding to changes in traffic patterns or adverse weather.
- Passing Unsafely – Passing other vehicles safely is critical to driving safely, and if you see a trucker engaging in anything other than textbook passing, he or she is endangering others. Truck drivers should always pass on the left – after ensuring that they have plenty of space to pull over. Further, truckers should not linger in the passing lane but should return to a right-hand driving lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Driving Aggressively – Aggressive drivers are easily among the most dangerous drivers out there. Spotting an aggressive trucker is not difficult – they typically engage in more than one dangerous driving practice at any given time. For example, an aggressive truck driver might tailgate another vehicle while speeding (and perhaps honking).
Reporting a Dangerous Truck Driver
If you witness a trucker whom you believe is eminently dangerous, call 911 when it is safe to do so. If you witness a trucker whose driving concerns you but that does not amount to an emergency, you can contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) directly – either by phone or online.