Trying to avoid an accident

by Jimmy

I would like to share some advice with all drivers that I received from a company safety guy some years back. This was a 400 truck company out of Oklahoma and the safety guy was a retired Oklahoma State trooper.

During orientation, he gave the class a bit of advice, not the normal stuff, but something you wouldn't expect to hear from safety.

He gave a story of a flatbedder traveling down a 2 lane highway in a rural area with light traffic doing legal speed. The driver was experienced and rested and completely legal. As he approached a narrow bridge about 200 feet long, a U-Haul van was approaching the same bridge, which was wide enough to accomadate both vehicles, but was a bit narrower than the main road.

Well, it seems the U-haul driver was not used to a larger vehicle and thought he needed more space to clear the bridge. He actually didn't, but being only used to his car, he took more road than needed, and was over the yellow line just enough to make the flatbedder try to avoid sideswiping and in doing so, the flatbedder avoided the U-Haul, but sideswiped his truck on the passenger side against the guardrail.

The flatbedder pulled over to assess his damage, but, guess what, the U-Haul kept going. He probably wasn't even aware what had happened and the flatbedder had to deal with the damage.

The safety guy told us in that situation, you should collide with the other vehicle so he has to stop and in that situation, (The U-Haul), would have been made to pay for the damage to the flatbedder. He said the same applies if trying to avoid a 4 wheeler stopping in front of you without warning. Run into him and do not attempt to avoid, because you will run into the ditch and/or jacknife and the 4 wheeler drives merrily on his way. Since he caused the accident, he needs to be involved. Otherwise, he's gone and you are in the ditch standing there scratching your head.

Then on the other hand, Our natural reaction is to swerve to avoid hitting. So you would have to make a quick decision in about one tenth of a second. That is if this situation ever happens to you. Food for thought. Jimmy

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