Evelyn Hurley had luck on her side this past September as she drove through downtown Macon and a log fell from the truck ahead of her smashed through her windshield on the driver's side. Amazingly,she dodged the log and was not seriously hurt. The scene could have easily ended in tragedy. This time, Hurley’s SUV took most of the damage. Too often, accidents between log trucks and passenger vehicles result in injury or death.
Logging trucks are a common sight on the roads around Macon. Here are a few tips for safe driving when you encounter a log truck or another large truck carrying a heavy load:
- Keep your distance. This is the simplest way to protect yourself, yet the easiest to forget. Some loads may hang over the back of the trucks. Even though we hope the trucker secured the load properly, you don’t want to take chances. As Hurley’s incident reminds us, these accidents can happen in town, as well as on the highway, so don’t assume you are safe just because the truck is traveling at slower speeds.
- Stay out of blind spots. Remember that large trucks have large blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in the side mirror, assume the driver cannot see you.
- Be careful passing. If you are passing, do so quickly and safely. Never pass on a downslope or the righthand lane. Give the truck plenty of space when pulling back in. Remember that trucks need extra stopping distance, so don’t cut them off.
- Give a wide berth. Large trucks need extra turning space. You do not want to be in their path, especially with a log truck. The log that hit Hurley’s car came off when the truck made a left-hand turn. Hurley could hardly control the actions of the truck driver or the log, but it is another reminder to keep your distance whenever possible.
- When to call it in. If you encounter a log truck exhibiting any of the following unsafe conditions, call it in so authorities can track down the driver and better secure the load:
- The load looks unbalanced. This may cause chains to break or the truck to tip.
- Overhanging cargo looks loose or unstable.
- Overhanging logs are not flagged or properly lit by LED lights.
- The driver seems distracted or tired and is driving erratically.
You can also call the authorities if you see debris on the road from a truck, which could cause an accident. If you are injured in an accident caused by a log truck, you may have a personal injury claim against the driver’s company.