Is Truck Driving Dangerous?

After years of traveling from coast to coast.  From north to south and everywhere in between.  I can honestly say this about if truck driving is dangerous or not.

Being a Truck Driver is one of the riskiest and dangerous occupations that any individual could choose to do.  It is dangerous because of uncontrollable and controllable reasons, for the known and unknown reasons.

If you would like to understand all the why’s and extra information as to exactly how dangerous and what are some of the unknown dangers associated with truck driving.  Check out the additional information below.

What Are The Types Of Dangers In Trucking?

Being a truck driver is extremely dangerous because there are things as a truck driver that you can attempt to control.  Then there are things as a truck driver that can become uncontrollable.

  • Let’s take, for example, driving on a snow-covered road.  As a truck driver, I can choose to travel on that road or not.  This can be viewed as me, a truck driver, being in control.
  • Let’s take the same scenario, let’s say this day, the officials say something like, “We will let you travel down this snow-covered road if you put the required amount of chains on the tires of your semi truck and trailer.”
  • For example purposes, I do this to reduce the risks of dangers.  So I’m traveling along at a slower speed with flashers on.  As I’m traveling, a car loses control next to me and slams into the side of my semi truck (uncontrollable danger).

The best option in the above scenario would have been to ignore the requirements to chain up tires and remained safely parked if it would have felt like anything was unsafe.

Even though I am in control of my semi truck.  I am not capable of being in control of other people’s vehicles.  Therefore, danger.  Just as driving down the road in a semi truck, and having a bird fly into the windshield.

Is another uncontrollable danger.  What is controllable when this occurs is my ability to not freak out.  If by chance that bird makes it through the window, and strikes my person, let’s say in the face (because this is rare, but has actually happened to truck drivers).

My requirement to be able to see to remain safe and in control of my vehicle is always the top priority.  Now even when I have an eyelash in both of my eyes, I have always managed to safely control my semi truck off the roadway and park safely out of harm’s way till the issue is resolved.

Though not everyone is like me.  Especially new truck drivers or new drivers of any kind of vehicle for that matter.  With inexperience, comes risk.  When anyone asks me when is the best time to begin to learn about how to drive a semi-truck.

I always say, in winter.  Now, this may sound a little backward based on what I just stated above for what is dangerous.  However, when you are first learning how to drive a semi truck.  You are with a trainer, you are most likely driving around a parking lot of some sort, which is a controlled area.

You then venture off maybe a couple of blocks down the road and back.  This provides the ability for the new driver to not only understand the dangers of weather like snow.  It introduces them to being a semi-truck driver and bad weather in a safe way.

So that in the future, after the snow, for example, has all melted away.  The new inexperienced truck driver can reminisce on the dangers they learned, and apply the safe solutions to maintain an overall safer ability from limited past experience.

Rather than learning in the summer, and by mid-winter or later, being tossed into the bad weather with no or even more limited experience.

Bad weather can tend to play a huge role in how dangerous truck driving can be.  Even high wind speeds can cause semi trucks to roll over at low traveling speeds.  Due to the high profile of the semi truck, especially any type of trailer that has a solid side on it, like a 53 foot Dry Van trailer for example.

This 53-foot long side becomes very similar to the sail on a sailboat.  On a sailboat, the wind is used to help the boat travel.  On a semi truck, that is pulling a high profile trailer.  The wind can also make the semi truck travel in directions or ways that the truck driver wishes not to.

I have seen wind speeds around 25 mph push semi trucks into other semi trucks and vehicles while traveling down the road.  I have seen higher speeds of winds, cause parked semi trucks to be pushed over onto they’re sides while the truck driver of the truck was inside the bunk sleeping.

I have seen high winds cause automobiles to lose control of they’e vehicles in the left lane and be pulled into the medium of the interstate highway.

Another cause of truck driving being dangerous are the individuals operating various types of vehicles.  Even though truck drivers are required to stop driving after they’re 11th hour of driving duty.  This doesn’t mean that other travelers get the same sticky note.

I will not lie, there are some truck drivers that just do not know when it is time to get off the highway, go park, and go to bed.  Just as many travelers of auto’s push themselves to the point of being so fatigued, that they too get into a dangerous predicament.

Being fatigued while driving is equivalent to being basically a drunk driver.  Your motor skills of your person are slowed, your ability to react is slowed, your ability to visually stay focused on anything is diluted with head nods and trying to stay awake.

If you’ve ever head nodded due to being tired just 1 time.  You my friend are an extremely lucky person.  I say this because in that very moment, of that head nod, you were actually sleeping whether you want to believe it or not.

This is your body shutting down, stating it is ready for sleep even if you do not think you are.  For that moment, maybe it was a second, maybe it was 10 seconds.  How many seconds does it take to notice that anything dangerous is currently taking place? Do you give up?

The answer is less than a second.  More like 0.04 seconds or something like that, near there I forget exacts.  You get my point though.  There is no way any person can avoid any type of danger if they are sleeping, especially sleeping while driving.

If anything, when sleeping while driving, the danger’s you impose on yourself, and others around you become greatly increased to the point that there may not even be a chance to avoid any type of danger when you are sleeping behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

Another dangerous area for truck drivers is construction zones.  Within these area’s there are posted speed limits.  There are construction works and construction equipment all moving.  Within these areas, the construction team is going to be moving around a lot.

At night, construction workers use various types of lighting to be able to see what they are doing.  Sometimes its bright, other times, its blind piercing to your eyes.  For that moment you feel like, maybe you are blinded.

The best way to overcome this, is do not stare into the lights.  Travel slow, be mindful of others, watch whats in front of you and check your mirrors regularly.  Take your time going through the construction zone.  Just because they have cones or barrels up, does not mean its a mini race track.

Location or area of where you are can also be dangerous.  At times, truck drivers have they’re semi truck’s stolen.  Or are robbed for personal items.  This is why it is important to know your surroundings.

Get the big picture of what is and is not going on around you.  Make it a point to be safe.  Walk in well lit areas at night, instead of between trailers in dark at a truck stop.

If can, walk with someone, just start a conversation with another truck driver. “Hi, how are you doing?” is a good way to start one without having to ask “Can I walk with you because I feel unsafe?”

Since most states do not allow a truck driver to carry a firearm.  We have to be mindful of the what if’s.  Holding your keys in a closed fist so the key protrudes out between your fingers.  Or that tire thumper, its a really good knee thumper too you know.

These are just some ideas that can help a truck driver in a dangerous area to feel a little more secure and confident.  I’m not saying smack the poo out of every person that approaches you.  I’m only saying, be open minded to the possibilities that at any time, someone could attempt something.

When a truck driver pretends to do a Pre Trip Inspection or Post Trip Inspection of their semi truck and trailer.  This can easily become an extremely dangerous scenario.  The purpose of these inspections, is to ensure your semi truck and trailer are in a safe working condition.

If you go to sleep, awake the next morning and just start driving.  How do you know no one pulled your fifth wheel level as a very bad joke, or decided to barrow your glad hand seals and not tell you about it.  Or, how do you know someone didn’t barrow all of your trailer brake tail lights?

When a truck driver doesn’t do any inspections, the truck driver is putting them self and the public at risk of a very dangerous possible moment.  A Tire Recap, that rips off a trailer tire wheel for example.  Has enough momentum to strike a windshield and impale the driver of a car.

A Pre or Post Trip Inspection may of been the deciding factor of being noticed prior to any type of danger, becoming a fatality.  Since it would of been noticed “possibly” or maybe if the air pressure in the tire was checked, it would of been noticed “possibly” in a different manner.  Then taken to the shop and repaired, and the risk of danger would of been reduced.

Road debris is another danger for truck drivers and road travelers.  Sometimes this road debris comes in the form of cargo off of vehicles.  As components or parts of vehicles.

Why this is, is because if someone is following to closely behind you.  As you proceed forward, you see for example a ladder in your lane, you slow down and you avoid it.

The driver behind you, because is following to closely, is not able to avoid the debris.  Due to this, the other vehicle runs over the debris, reigniting the ability of that ladder to become thrown into the air, thrown into the next lane over, thrown into another vehicle.

Given, if anyone, provided them self with enough following distance from the vehicle ahead and paying attention.  A lot of this could be avoided.  So when your driving along, and if you can not see the bottom of the tires in contact with the roadway on the vehicle ahead of you.  You most definitely are extremely to close.

It takes a normal person, just a hair less than a full second to just “react” to avoid an accident when traveling.  This doesn’t including the action of actually avoiding the danger.  Now if your on your cell phone, or drinking a soda, or doing something other than paying attention to driving.

Well, then you just increased the amount of time you need to simply “React” to avoid the ahead danger.  How is this dangerous to truck drivers?

Well, some truck drivers have also gotten into accidents because of texting, or watching a movie on they’re cell phones just as other driver’s have of cars or suv’s and etc.  When a 80,000 pound vehicle collides with anything, it is catastrophic.

 

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About Michael : Semi Truck Driver

I have been a semi truck driver for approximately 20 years. Throughout this time I have been taught a lot of different things from a lot of different people through the years. I've also learned a lot of things from my own mistakes. With all of this in mind, allow me to share with you what I have been lucky enough to learn.

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