The Impact of COVID-19 on Truck Drivers
In an average year, a truck driver will likely travel 100,000 miles or more. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased demand for goods to be shipped to stores or directly to homes. Let us take a look at truck driver safety and the physical and mental toll that this can take on drivers and how you can help make their jobs a little bit easier.
Maintain an Adequate Following Distance
Perhaps the easiest way to avoid an accident is to keep as much distance between your vehicle and a commercial truck as possible. A commercial driver who has been on the road for several consecutive hours may be tired or fatigued. Drivers who are experiencing fatigue may not be able to stop or otherwise react to changing road conditions in a timely manner. Tired truck operators can also have a harder time maintaining their lane or otherwise operating in a consistent manner.
While driver fatigue does not excuse a person’s unsafe actions, the law says that you also have a responsibility to look out for your own safety while on the road. Ideally, you will stay at least three to four seconds behind any commercial vehicles that share the road with your car. You may want to trail even farther behind a large truck during periods of poor visibility.
Make Sure a Truck Driver Can See You Before Passing
It is important that you make confident decisions while traveling in proximity to large trucks. If you are planning on passing a commercial vehicle on the highway, you will ideally follow all of the best practices when doing so. This means that you will use your turn signal to indicate your car is going to transition into another lane.
Once you are in that lane, be sure that you exit the commercial driver’s blind spot as quickly as possible. After passing a truck, use your turn signal to indicate you are going to be moving back into the lane that his or her vehicle is currently occupying.
By taking these steps, a truck driver is less likely to choose to make a lane change before it is safe to do so. That person is also less likely to speed up or slow down before you have had an opportunity to change lanes and get safely in front of the truck.
Do Your Best to Stay Calm
It is important to remember that everyone on the road is human and capable of making mistakes. One of the most effective ways of remaining calm during a stressful situation is to assume that actions taken by other drivers are unintentional. For instance, if a commercial vehicle tries to make a lane change before it is safe to do so, assume that the commercial driver did not see you.
Instead of making gestures or taking aggressive actions in return, you are likely better served by putting more space between yourself and the truck. This can be done by practicing truck driver safety and slowing down or pulling over to the side of the road until your anger or desire for revenge passes. By staying calm, you will reduce the risk of hurting yourself, your passengers, or others on the road.
You will also set a good example for your children as to how adults handle stressful situations. Setting a good example can be especially important if your son or daughter is going to start driving in the near future. If you do have a concern about a commercial driver’s actions, feel free to call that person’s employer. In many cases, the employer’s phone number will be listed in large font on the truck itself.
Do Not Physically Interact With a Truck Driver
If you are involved in an accident with a truck driver, you should stay in your vehicle until the police arrive. When the cops get on scene, ask if you can give a statement from your vehicle so that you do not have to come into close contact with the other driver. The officer who arrives at the scene may also be able to facilitate the process of exchanging license and insurance information.
Staying in your car helps minimize the risk of catching COVID-19 from anyone in the truck. It also helps minimize the risk that you infect others with the coronavirus. Remember, a person can have the condition and spread it to others even if he or she is not showing any symptoms. Staying in your automobile may also prevent a fight between yourself and a stressed or an aggravated truck driver from breaking out.
Truck Drivers Care About Your Safety
It is crucial to remember that truck drivers need to keep their jobs if they want to provide financially for themselves and their families. Therefore, they will do whatever it takes to minimize the risks of getting into an accident. If they do not own the vehicle they are driving, it is likely that their employers have truck driver safety protocols to ensure they are in compliance with applicable trucking laws in the state.
If you do see a driver making what seems to be an unsafe decision behind the wheel, there could be an explanation for that behavior. For instance, a driver using a smartphone may be responding to an urgent call from home or from an employer. Individuals who eat while driving may be doing so because rest stops in the state have been closed or partially shut down.
Try Not to Be in Such a Hurry
Like most people, you may feel stressed or anxious about the world you currently live in. While many businesses are closed, you may still be required to go to work or venture out despite your worries about potentially getting sick. Although you may want to limit the amount of time that you spend in public, it can be in your best interest to allow as much time as possible to get to your destinations and be aware of truck driver safety.
This can reduce the likelihood that you become impatient or aggressive while on roads or highways. When you have more time to reach your destination, you tend to drive at a slower speed and make decisions with other motorists in mind. This can be important when driving in proximity to a large truck as they tend to drive slower and take up more space on the road.
One potential silver lining to the pandemic is that traffic levels are lower on roads throughout the country. Ultimately, it may be easier to share the roads with commercial vehicles that carry important supplies to people and companies throughout America.
During this unprecedented time that we are living in, it is important to treat people with respect and kindness. This is generally true whether you are spending time in a grocery store, jogging in the park, or driving to work. However, if you are involved in an accident, you do have the right to seek compensation. A trucking law attorney from RAM Law in New Brunswick or in Somerville can help you. Give us a call at (732) 394-1549 today to schedule a consultation.