Lane change crashes can often be prevented if the truck driver recognizes the hazards that increase the risk of a crash and applies the right defensive driving techniques. Read the information below then ask yourself how you can improve your driving to prevent lane change crashes.
RECOGNIZE THE HAZARDS
Traffic, in general, makes it challenging to manage the space around the truck. Traffic congestion and work zones increase the risk. Adverse weather, including mud, ice, and snow, reduces visibility.
Blind spots all around the truck are a major factor in lane change crashes. Vibration can cause mirrors to become misaligned, affecting visibility, while damaged or inoperable mirrors and turn signals create hazards.
Frequent or abrupt lane changes increase the risk of a crash. Likewise, forcing the truck into another driver’s lane or failing to use the mirrors and turn signal before changing lanes can lead to a crash.
KNOW THE DEFENSE
MAINTAIN ONE LaNE
Avoid frequent lane changes by keeping in your lane as much as possible. When a lane change is necessary, make sure it is safe and legal to do so. Use the mirrors and the “lean and look” method to make sure the adjacent lane is clear. Activate the turn signal well in advance, then change lanes gradually.
MAINTAIN PROPER FOLLOWING DISTANCE
Keep at least six seconds behind the vehicle in front and add more distance, if additional hazards are present. This allows you to check the side mirrors and manage the space around the vehicle.
BE ATTENTIVE TO THE ROAD AHEAD
Make periodic, quick glances to mirrors, and then return your focus to the road ahead.
OBSERVE PROPER SPEED FOR CONDITIONS
Drive 2-3 MPH slower than the speed of traffic, not to exceed the speed limit. This creates a natural gap and allows you to perceive hazards faster and react without making abrupt lane changes.
Put away mobile devices and avoid other distractions. This allows you to focus on the task of driving and be ready to react to hazards such as a passenger vehicle or truck cutting in front of your truck.
Check side and fender-mounted mirrors before driving to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment. Pull over if the mirrors need adjusting. Repair inoperable equipment before leaving on a trip.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
© Great West Casualty Company 2019. The material in this publication is the property of Great West Casualty Company unless otherwise noted and may not be reproduced without its written consent by any person other than a current insured of Great West Casualty Company for business purposes. Insured should attribute use as follows: “© Great West Casualty Company 2019. Used with permission by Great West Casualty Company.”
This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds, nor does it advise insureds on employment-related issues. Therefore, the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds. Legal advice should always be sought from the insured’s legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.