Sharing the highway with massive commercial trucks is a reality for nearly all drivers across the United States. While these vehicles are essential for transporting goods, their sheer size and weight demand respect and vigilance from the drivers around them. Recognizing the signs of an out-of-control truck is crucial for protecting yourself and others in such situations. If you do experience a wreck caused by a careless commercial drive, a San Antonio truck accident lawyer may be able to assist you. Read on to learn more about the warning signs of an out-of-control commercial truck.
Visual Clues That Indicate a Truck in Distress
When coming up on a truck on the highway, keep a close eye on the vehicle as you approach. Watch for:
- Swerving and drifting between lanes: Erratic lane changes, especially without clear signals or justification, can be a warning sign of a loss of control. The trucker may be dealing with mechanical issues like a tire blowout or steering malfunction, driver fatigue, or even impaired judgment.
- Excessive speed and delayed braking: One warning sign to be aware of is a truck traveling substantially above the speed limit, even when approaching traffic lights or slower cars. This could indicate problems with the truck’s brakes, a heavy load exceeding the truck’s capacity, or a driver ignoring road safety guidelines.
- Tilting or swaying trailers: Unevenly distributed cargo can cause a truck to tilt or sway towards one side or the other. This poses a serious risk of rollovers, especially on curves or uneven terrain.
- Unusual riding height: Trucks maintain a specific ground clearance based on their load. If a truck seems lower to the ground than it ought to be, it may be dealing with an overloaded suspension. This potentially impacts stability and braking ability.
By remaining vigilant and paying close attention to visual signs of distress, you can gain valuable insights into a truck’s status and adjust your own driving accordingly.
Recognizing Signs of Distress in Another Driver
Anytime you’re driving, you should be paying close attention to the actions of other drivers on the road. Truck drivers may attempt to get your attention to warn of a dangerous situation on the road. Flashing headlights or persistent honking, although potentially annoying, could be desperate attempts to warn other drivers of their predicament. Erratic steering or sudden braking maneuvers, especially in heavy traffic, might indicate the driver struggling to maintain control due to mechanical issues, fatigue, or even a medical emergency.
Stay vigilant for any disregard for the usual rules of the road. Ignoring stop signs, red lights, or lane markings might not just be poor driving – it could be a symptom of fatigue, distraction, or even a driver incapacitated by illness. Observe the driver’s demeanor as well. If you observe that they have a slumped posture, erratic movements, or an open truck door, they may be suffering from a compromised physical or mental state.
Recognizing these subtle signs that something is seriously wrong can help you keep yourself and your passengers safe. Proactively employing defensive driving tactics can also protect other motorists on the road, including the driver of the rogue truck.
Staying Safe Around Large Trucks
If you encounter an out-of-control truck, your primary concern should be maintaining a safe distance from the erratic vehicle. Do not attempt to speed past or get around the vehicle, as sudden maneuvers could further endanger yourself or others. If possible, gradually change lanes to put as much space as possible between your vehicle and the truck.
Even if a truck’s brakes are functional, it will take far more time for them to come to a full stop than a passenger car. You do not want to get in front of a truck that is moving erratically, as it may be experiencing problems with its brakes. As soon as you observe a potentially dangerous situation, dial emergency services. Provide the operator with a clear description of the truck, its location, and the observed signs of trouble. If you can see the truck’s license plate number without getting too close, provide this detail as well.
Sharing the road with commercial trucks requires awareness and caution. By recognizing the signs of an out-of-control vehicle, staying calm and taking appropriate action, you can help ensure everyone’s safety on the highway.