The bigger the truck, the bigger the crash
SGI and police focusing on commercial vehicle safety throughout August
July 31, 2015
Commercial drivers are held to a high standard as one risky manoeuvre could end in tragedy. This month, traffic enforcement will be focusing on commercial drivers, ensuring they’re following the rules of the road to keep all road users safe.
SGI, law enforcement, the Ministry of Highways and the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) strive to create awareness that all motorists need to share the road safely.
“Even though operators of large commercial vehicles aren’t at fault for the majority of the collisions they’re involved in, their sheer size and weight can cause massive destruction,” said Earl Cameron, Vice President of the Auto Fund. “It’s important that commercial drivers are alert and ensure their vehicles meet all safety requirements.”
Commercial drivers should remember these tips to ensure they get to their destination safely:
- Complete proper pre- and post-trip inspections to ensure your vehicle is in good operating condition.
- Ensure your vehicle is within the allowed height and weight limits to prevent damaging roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
- Signal well in advance when planning to turn or change lanes, especially turning right as you may have to swing wide into a second lane.
- Hang up, buckle up and be alert to the actions of oncoming drivers and other drivers at intersections.
- Pull over when feeling tired – it could truly be a matter of life or death.
- If you’ve been driving for many years, review the Professional Driver’s Handbook to keep up with new laws and to refresh your memory on the responsibilities of a professional driver.
“It’s not only important for commercial drivers to take precautions,” said Al Rosseker, Executive Director, STA. “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility - other drivers also need to know the safety implications associated with larger vehicles, and how to share the road safely with them.”
Large commercial vehicles require more room and time to complete manoeuvres. Common collisions involving commercial vehicles include rear-end crashes, right-turn crashes involving vehicles on the same road, left-turn crashes involving an opposing vehicle on the same road, and sideswipe crashes. Keep these tips in mind when sharing the road with large trucks:
- They take longer to start and stop – increase your following distance and never cut too close in front of them.
- They take wider turns, especially when turning right. Watch for signal lights, as they usually have to steer into a second lane to turn right.
- They have bigger blind spots than cars, which makes it difficult to see smaller vehicles. If possible, avoid spending too much time in the ‘no zone’ – the areas directly in front of, behind and beside them.
- Be patient. They want to get to their destination just as much as you do to yours.
On average 19 per cent of traffic fatalities in Saskatchewan involve a large commercial vehicle, even though they account for less than five per cent of the vehicles on the road. In 78 per cent of fatal crashes involving a large truck, the action taken by the driver of the other vehicle was the major factor contributing to the collision.
Results from July’s spotlight on work zones will be available later in August. Results from June’s spotlight on new drivers are available.
View more information on commercial vehicles and how #wecandrivebetter. In consultation with its law enforcement partners, SGI has developed a calendar outlining the traffic safety focus for each month in 2015 (pdf, 221 kb).
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province's self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of nearly 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link under Online Services on your motor licence issuer's website or SGI's website.