By: angie Cheesman,
London, ONT, Canada
A truck driver is educated in the capabilities, and limitations, of the transport he is driving, but little education is given to those that drive 4 wheel vehicles.
A near miss with an 18 wheeler making a wide right turn almost cost me my life. Although I have shared the road with truckers for 28 years and am a considerate driver, I’m not quite sure how my accident could have occurred?
The truck was exiting (from the entrance lane, and stopped) when I pulled up in the exit lane (which was free and clear) 3/4 up the side of his trailer. I stopped, and was waiting for a clear view of traffic. I did not see a right turn signal illuminated and presumed that he was turning “left.” Within 10 seconds, the truck started to turn right and the accident happened, him pulling my vehicle forward and to the right several feet. Had I hit the curb, those tires were coming over the top of my vehicle! Luckily he heard my car horn or felt my weight and eventually stopped!
In retrospect, I think I should have “assumed” that he was making a wide right turn but it never occurred to me at the time?
He “says” he had his signal illuminated, and I would never want to call someone a liar, so I’m going to once again “assume” that I missed his signal.
For this error on my part I am going to admit liability….in part. However, all I did was advance in my correct lane, stopped and waited for a clear view of traffic before executing my turn. Accidents happen, however avoidable, but education and training could have prevented my accident.
The highway he was turning onto was not a sharp turn. If this driver had set up his turn properly and blocked the exit lane with his trailer, thus preventing me from advancing in my lane, the accident would not have occurred. Note: The driver admitted that he did not check his mirrors prior to turning as he “did not think anyone was silly enough to come up on his right?” HIS RIGHT WAS MY DESIGNATED LANE!
Furthermore, where I’m from, a signal is a courtesy to another driver, not a right of way! I’m not excusing my possible inattentiveness in not seeing his signal, but I was taught to “look” before I move my vehicle.
Suffice to say, I have lived through this ordeal but I now have a fear of driving around transports. A I said earlier, I have shared the roads for 28 years, without incident. I have the utmost respect for carriers who deliver us our daily needs and the ordeals they face on our busy roads.
I believe that education everyone will benefit us all and was very impressed with your site. Creating awareness in the dangers for all of us will serve to make our roads safer and I believe our Governmant should be participating.
I propose that with the information that the ATA gathers on high probability accidents, everyone who drives should be given a “refresher” course every few years when they renew their licence. Since we are paying to “renew” our licence, we should be informed on higher case accidents in the preceeding years so that we may educate ourselves. Even if it were only a 1/2 hour update on what is happening on our roads, it would be time well spent! I’m usually in line for over 1/2 hour anyway just to renew my licence and get my sticker! May as well make use of that time!
Thank you for hearing my thoughts.
Response from Vicki:
Hello, Angie. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am so sorry that you were involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler (or transport).
My husband Mike and I have sought to do our part in bringing to the attention of professional truck drivers the need to be aware of preventable accidents like those involving right turns, low clearances and railroad crossing accidents.
Although I was not there and have only your written description of what happened, I noticed at least two things in what you wrote that the professional driver who crunched your car failed to do:
1. Keep his trailer tires as close to the right curb as possible and
2. Look at his mirrors before moving.
Even if he had had his right turn signal going, he should not have presumed that he had the right of way. Depending on the police report (which I encourage you to get a copy of, at least for insurance purposes), this driver will probably be found “at fault” and have a moving violation on his record. It may be very costly for him in a number of ways.
Thankfully, you were not killed. Hopefully, you suffered no long term injuries. I hope you will be able to mentally adjust from a “fear” of being around big trucks to a heightened sense of respect. There is a difference.
If I may encourage you to do so, please be on the lookout for “trouble spots” on the road and avoid them. If that is not possible, perhaps it would be wise to give large trucks plenty of room in those places. But don’t be surprised if when you encounter the same set up and “hang back” (to give more room for the large truck), someone behind you who sees the “space” honks at you, thinking you’re not as far forward as you “should” be (at least in his or her opinion). For cases like that, it makes me wonder if having a bumper sticker with this wording on one’s back window would do the trick: “I have a healthy respect for large trucks.”
Re-education for all drivers on the road sounds like a good idea to me. There has, however, been a move among some states to increase the time between driver’s licenses. In our home state of South Carolina, some drivers may go for up to 10 years between renewals. Drivers with Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) must renew more often. Furthermore, they must pass a DOT physical before they can get a CDL.
This is bold, but perhaps you can turn your “lemon” experience into “lemonade,” as did the husband and father in the excellent Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, the listing below from Amazon.com, with which we have an affiliate relationship.
I realize your situation is not the same, but there might be a parallel of sorts.
The IMDB description of the movie is: “A tragic drag racing accident kills a wife and her child leaving her husband to pick up the pieces and pursue justice against the boy that killed them.” You may also find another description on the website of the NY Times.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Perhaps your first-hand account of what happened will help other professional drivers to be more careful in the future.