Dangers of Unfamiliar Roads for Truckers

Unfamiliar Roadways infographic

Although many people may not realize it, driving on unfamiliar routes and roads presents unique dangers for truck drivers.

Unfortunately, these dangers increase the risk that a commercial truck driver may get into an accident, which can result in severe and debilitating injuries or even fatalities.

Commercial trucking companies have a responsibility to train their employees on how to handle driving on unfamiliar routes. For their part, truck drivers should familiarize themselves with the hazards of driving on new and unfamiliar roads and with steps they can take to protect themselves and others.

How Unfamiliar Conditions Lead to Truck Accidents

Statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveal that, in approximately 22 percent of truck accidents, a truck driver’s unfamiliarity with the roadway was the cause of or a contributing factor to the crash. This ranks unfamiliarity with the road as the third-leading cause or contributing factor of truck accidents.

A road may be considered “unfamiliar” to a truck driver either because the driver has never driven the route before or because construction has altered a road’s conditions or traffic flow from what the driver is accustomed to. Unfamiliar roads can lead to truck accidents for many reasons, including:

  • A truck driver trying to navigate a new route may become distracted with maps or using navigation systems.
  • A truck driver may unexpectedly encounter unique or challenging driving conditions, such as heavy traffic, a steep incline, or a tight bend.
  • A driver on a familiar road with significant alterations may cause an accident by not following the new traffic flow or rules.
  • On an unfamiliar route, a truck driver may mistakenly take their vehicle somewhere unsafe for a large commercial truck, such as through a narrow road or intersection, toward a low underpass, or the wrong way down a one-way street.

How Truckers Can Stay Safe on Unfamiliar Roadways

Truck drivers can use the following tips to help keep themselves and others on the road safe when traveling on unfamiliar routes and roadways:

  • Truckers should drive at an appropriate speed and with all reasonable care and caution so they have as much time and opportunity as possible to react to an unexpected road condition or situation.
  • Drivers should remember to use turn signals and double-check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes, turning, or making any other maneuvers.
  • If truck drivers miss their exit or turn, they shouldn’t panic or make a sudden maneuver to try to make an exit or turn after it’s too late. Instead, they should take the next exit or turn and pull over where safe to do so to plot a new route to the destination.
  • Truckers should take time to familiarize themselves with routes before setting off. If necessary, they can use a hands-free navigation device with audible turn-by-turn directions, rather than relying on maps that require them to take their attention off the road.
  • Truck drivers should always exercise patience when traveling on a new route or road.

Hurt in a Truck Accident? Call Bert

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident due to someone else’s negligence, call the truck accident lawyers at Parnall Law Firm. Contact Parnall Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced truck accident attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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