Truckers are part of the lifeblood of the nation. They’re largely responsible for keeping the grocery store shelves stocked and a steady stream of consumer goods heading toward their destinations.
But there’s a real danger that some truckers will push themselves too hard. Those long hours on the open road, the relative solitude (especially at night) and the intense pressure to meet shipping deadlines can all add to driver fatigue. When drivers are overly fatigued, they may have slower comprehension and reaction times, exhibit impaired judgment when making decisions and experience incidents of “micro-sleep” behind the wheel.
Even worse, while trucking companies have to comply with the hours-of-service rules that limit how long a driver can be on duty, they aren’t required to discuss proper fatigue management. Drivers generally have to figure that out for themselves.
Because of the increased likelihood that you may encounter a fatigued truck driver on the roads, keep your eyes out for the following problems:
- A driver who is traveling at erratic speeds (too slow, then too fast and back again)
- Trucks that appear to be drifting across the centerline or weaving
- A driver who is visibly fighting sleep while behind the wheel (nodding off)
- Trucks that don’t slow down when approaching a curve in the road
- Trucks that suddenly cut off another vehicle as they switch lanes.
Be particularly cautious in the late hours of the night and early morning, when it can be easier for any driver to nod off. Make sure that you give all semitrucks a wide berth during this time.
If you or your loved one are injured in a truck wreck, you may have the right to compensation for your losses. An attorney can advise you of your options.