How Commercial or Owner Operator Truck Drivers Can Prevent Underride Accidents

Underride accidents involving a car going under the trailer of a semi truck are often fatal. The car’s windshield and pillar structures are too flimsy to resist the shearing forces that occur when they collide with the bottom edge of a semi’s trailer. Because of this, the survival prospects for the driver and passengers of the car are grim. Although underride guards are mandated for the rear of the trailer, none are required for the sides.

Motorists must always exercise caution around trucks. However, the commercial or owner operator truck driver must also do her part to prevent this horrific accident. Here are five suggestions:

Inspect Your Rear Underride Guard for Damage or Corrosion

The rear underride guard must resist tremendous forces in a rear-end collision. There is a strong tendency for the impact force to bend the guard inward under the trailer. It only takes some weakening by damage or corrosion to make a guard fail, especially when the collision is off-center.

Avoid Hard Braking by Maintaining Lots of Following Distance

Sometimes traffic leaves you with no choice but to brake hard. You can generally avoid this problem by allowing lots of following space between you and the vehicles in front. With enough space, you can react to traffic problems with gentle braking. This gives any tailgater behind you more time to brake as well.

Keep Lights, Reflectors, and Reflective Tape in Good Condition

Don’t allow your trailer to become invisible at night. A motorist may fail to see your trailer in time to safely stop. Keep your side and rear trailer lights in working condition, and make sure your reflectors and reflective tape are in good condition as well. Keep all lights, reflectors, and tape clean of dirt, mud, and salt.

Don’t Cut off Traffic in Conditions of Poor Visibility or Poor Traction

Poor visibility includes fog, smoke, dust, and darkness. When pulling out in front of traffic, don’t force other vehicles to brake for you under these conditions. Allow enough time to complete your maneuver before oncoming traffic reaches you. When road conditions are slippery, you must allow even more time because the poor traction works against you as well as traffic braking for you. Forcing anyone to brake for you is a dangerous habit even in good conditions. You don’t know how well another’s brakes are working or his state of alertness.

Don’t Do U-Turns

U-turns expose your trailer’s unguarded broadside to oncoming traffic from both lanes. Make your turns by going around the block or in a side parking lot. Make sure you are taking a route that’s safe for your truck’s size and weight so that you aren’t forced into a u-turn.

Do you require Iowa commercial or owner operator truck insurance coverage at affordable rates? If so, then don’t hesitate to contact us.

David Ott

David Ott