Big-rig drivers face an endless list of hazards as they haul their cargo across state lines. They must continuously focus on the complicated task of navigating their massive vehicles safely. It is particularly challenging in the busy streets of cities like New York. Drivers of commercial vehicles must never lose sight of the thousands of passenger vehicle drivers without knowledge about large truck limitations.
Typical risks they face include changing road and weather conditions and fatigue. The monotony of long hauls could lead to daydreaming and drowsiness, both posing risks of catastrophic accidents. Cell phones or unexpected external distractions make them even more vulnerable.
Road safety authorities provide the following tips for commercial vehicle drivers:
- Plan each trip, taking expected weather changes, mountainous roads and detours in mind.
- Adjust traveling speed to accommodate changing weather conditions.
- Be vigilant at all times and look out for damaged roads and obstacles ahead.
- Drive defensively and identify passenger vehicle drivers who are distracted.
- Check side and rear-view mirrors to avoid being surprised by a vehicle in the blind spots.
- Never embark on a trip without inspecting the truck’s brakes and tires.
- Make sure the cargo load is secure and adequately balanced.
- Buckle up and avoid fatigue from driving too many hours continuously.
- If possible, avoid medications that cause drowsiness.
- Take particular care in work zones where limited or narrower lanes could pose hazards.
Negligent big-rig drivers who fail to slow down on ramps and curves could cause cargo spills, rollovers or collisions. Similarly, unbalanced loads could shift and cause the driver to lose control, or insecure loads can land in the roadway. Car vs. truck accidents in New York often leave the car occupants severely injured or dead. If such an accident resulted from a truck operator’s negligence, the driver, truck owner, employer and several other entities might find themselves defendants in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.