Within 60 days, three drivers transporting for BP Lubricants were
involved in lane change accidents. In each of these accidents the
drivers stated that they did not see the vehicle next to them. After
having the opportunity to review pictures and video of these accidents,
it is amazing that there were no serious injuries sustained by anyone
involved in these accidents.
The following information will describe and summarize the cause
of each accident and will offer techniques and tips to avoid being
involved in a lane change accident.
A truck driver moved across the driving lane into the
passing lane of an interstate highway without using his turn signal.
The driver of the passenger car in that lane swerved away but then
lost control and collided with the truck. A second passenger car also
collided with the truck and ended up on its side in the median with
the truck leaning on top of it. An investigation determined that the
truck driver did not intend to change lanes but drifted into the other
lane and caused the chain reaction accident.
A truck driver was going down a mountain grade on an
interstate highway in a construction zone. The third lane was closed
and trucks were required to use the middle lane. The driver states that
another truck passed him on the right side, pulled in front of him and
suddenly slowed. In an effort to avoid hitting the truck in front of him
he pulled into the right lane but did not see that there was already
a passenger car in that lane which resulted in a crash. The carrier
determined the truck driver was at fault because he was inattentive
to his surroundings and did not keep proper space management
around his vehicle.
A truck driver pulled into the passing lane in order to
go around a slower moving vehicle while traveling on an interstate
highway. The truck hit a car that was passing the truck at the time
it was changing lanes. A review of the dash camera video shows
the driver checking his mirrors and putting on his turn signal before
attempting to make the lane change, but he never saw the car. The
video also confirms that the driver was talking on his cell phone at
the time. It was determined that the cause of the accident was due
to inadequate surveillance or inattention blindness which can best
be described as “looking but not seeing”, due to being distracted by
the conversation on his cell phone.
We were extremely fortunate that no one was injured in these
accidents but all had the potential to be much worse. If these drivers
didn’t see a car along-side of them, what if it was a motorcycle? The
results may have been tragic.
Although the dash-cam video from these accidents cannot be shared,
the link below from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) website shows a very similar type near-miss accident.
Near Miss Accident
The following are tips provided by the FMCSA to avoid inadequate
surveillance accidents. Inadequate surveillance occurs when the driver
is in a situation where he/she is required to look to safely complete a
maneuver and either fails to look in the appropriate place or “looks,
but does not see.” The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS)
reported that 14 percent of large-truck crashes occurred due to
commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers’ inadequate surveillance.
you may not be aware of the size of your truck's blind spots. As a CMV
driver, you are aware that some of your blind spots are large enough
that a passenger vehicle can virtually disappear from your view.
Remember that other drivers unfamiliar with commercial driving
probably don’t realize this. 1/3rd. of all crashes between large trucks
and cars takes place in the “No-Zone”.
due to the actions of others. To drive defensively you should: keep
your distance, maintain a safe speed and stay alert. Recognizing
potentially dangerous situations well in advance can allow you to
safely maneuver past these situations. 75 percent of lane
change/merge crashes involve a recognition failure by the
the interstate and 1 1/2 blocks in the city). Looking far ahead will allow
you to respond early and smoothly to changing conditions ahead and
to avoid dangerous, abrupt braking.
you change lanes, turn, or merge. Check your mirrors quickly and
return your attention to the road ahead. Frequent scanning will allow
you to be aware of changing traffic conditions around your truck. If
you check your mirrors regularly, they can help you spot overtaking
vehicles. Mirrors will also help you monitor your surrounding
environment and may help you identify if a vehicle has moved into
your blind spot.
Other tips to avoid these types of accidents include
Mirror adjustment – Mirror adjustment should be checked prior to the
start of any trip and can only be checked accurately when the trailer(s)
are straight. You should check and adjust each mirror to show some part
of the vehicle. This will give you a reference point for judging the
position of the other images.
Signal Your Intention – Other drivers cannot know what you are
going to do until you tell them.
Signaling what you intend to do is important for safety.
Signal early and well before you turn, it is the best way to keep others
from trying to pass you.
Signal continuously, you need both hands on the wheel to turn safely.
Do not cancel the signal until you have completed the turn.
Cancel your signal manually because self-canceling signals may not
work all the time. Don’t forget to turn off your turn signal after you
have completed your turn.
Technology – There is technology available through some OEM’s and
through aftermarket vendors that provide lane departure warning
systems in trucks (LDWS). There are many different types of LDWS
available but the general intent is to provide a driver some type of
warning during an unintentional lane change situation. Expect to see
more options for trucks as these technologies develop.
Remember, a truly professional driver is a safe driver, and there is
no technology available that can replace an alert and attentive
CalArk Driven Safety