Breakdown Lane Safety Tips for the Commercial or Owner Operator Trucker

It’s often said that the best way to handle a commercial or owner operator truck breakdown is to never have any. Diligent maintenance and pre-trip inspections will help prevent breakdowns on the highway. However, this won’t completely eliminate the possibility.

Breakdowns on an interstate or high-speed highway are dangerous. There are many distracted drivers on the road today. The longer your rig is pulled off on the shoulder, the higher the probability that several distracted drivers will pass by you with minimal awareness. Emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and police cars are hit every year when parked on the shoulder while doing their jobs.

To minimize your risk of getting hit during a roadside breakdown, follow these five safety tips:

  • Choose your spot if you can. If your mechanical problem and the situation allows, get off at a rest stop exit. Failing that, choose a section of the breakdown lane where traffic approaching from behind will see you from a long way off. There should be no visual obstructions such as curves, hills, or structures. Do not choose locations that impede traffic such as those that block exiting and entering traffic.
  • Park as far to the edge of the shoulder as possible. Get as far right as you can even if the shoulder has more than enough space.
  • Stay inside your truck. You are safer inside your cab than standing along the roadside. If you must exit your truck, use the door that faces opposite the travel lane. This would normally be the passenger side.
  • Make your truck visible. Turn on your hazard lights and use your reflective triangles and road flares. Place the triangles and flares within the breakdown lane. Do not place them in or block off a traffic lane with them.
  • Get assistance. Follow your company’s protocol for breakdowns. This may entail calling your dispatcher and providing information such as your location so that they can notify a nearby truck breakdown service.

J.E.B. Insurance provides commercial or owner operator truck insurance in Georgia for commercial vehicles of all sizes. Contact us if you would like one of our insurance professionals to evaluate your insurance needs.