"What can we do to stay safe on the road with truckers who seem too aggressive and in too big of a hurry? And what's PEMCO doing to help?"
– customer Suzanne C.
Suzanne, we know nothing quite compares to that uneasy feeling we all get when we look in the rearview mirror and see nothing but grill – big, shiny truck grill. The latest statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that about 1 in 10 highway deaths involve a large truck, a sobering thought since trucks make up considerably fewer than 1 in 10 vehicles on the road.
However, if there's good news to be gleaned, it's that truck vs. car fatalities are down sharply from their all-time high in 1979 (6,539 vs. 3,602 in 2013, the latest data available), due largely to safety improvements in passenger cars.
PEMCO strives to influence transportation issues like safety regulations for interstate trucking through its efforts with national organizations such as IIHS and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC). Sometimes, progress comes slowly. But fortunately there's a lot you can do to improve your odds – especially when you consider that, in about 80% of car-truck crashes, the truck driver was not at fault. These tips can help:
Don't linger near a truck. You disappear from a trucker's view when you're directly behind, in front, and alongside all but the rear corners of the truck. If you can't see the driver's face in the truck's side mirrors, the driver can't see you. Stay four car lengths in front of a truck and 20 car lengths in back.
Pass trucks quickly on the left side only, and don't return to the lane until you can see both of the truck's headlights in your rearview mirror.
Be aware of approaching weigh stations and give trucks plenty of room to make their way to the right lane.
Don't cut in front of a truck to beat it to an exit. A loaded truck can take the length of a football field to stop.
Allow for a truck's wide turns. To accommodate its trailer's swing, a truck turning left often must first pull to the right. The opposite is true for trucks turning right. Don't sneak up alongside, assuming the truck has pulled over to let you pass.