Tanker Driver Dies Swerving To Avoid Hurting Motorists

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Anchorman's Comment
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Tanker Driver Dies Swerving To Avoid Hurting Motorists

A tanker truck driver lost his life yesterday on the New Jersey Turnpike after mattresses in the road caused traffic to slow suddenly, forcing the driver to make the quick decision to swerve to save the lives of the motorists in front of him.

The incident began yesterday afternoon when several mattresses fell off a cargo van near mile marker 110 in Kearny. Vehicles swerved and braked to try to avoid the debris. Witnesses say that an SUV braked suddenly and swerved in front of a tanker, cutting it off. The tanker driver swerved to avoid hitting the SUV, sending him crashing over the right guardrail. The truck rolled over and instantly burst into flames.

Truck driver Kevin Heuer was behind the tanker and stopped to try to rescue the tanker driver, but the heat was too intense for him to get close enough.

The driver was trapped inside and was killed. He has not yet been identified.

The SUV driver was not injured during the crash.

Heuer believes the tanker driver saved lives with his action: “Whether he intended to or not, he saved those people in front of him, lives. He gave up his own, I’m sure he didn’t want to do that, but those people in that car in front of him, they could be gone.”

The northbound western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike was reopened in time for the morning commute.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anchorman's Comment
member avatar

Driver Dies After Tanker Flips Trying To Avoid Wreckage

Dramatic dashboard camera footage caught a fiery crash on Wednesday when a tanker truck flipped over a guardrail on the New Jersey Turnpike and burst into flames. The driver was killed.

Kieran L.'s Comment
member avatar

That is really tragic. I hope the people in front of him who's lives he saved realize what he did and convey their deepest gratitude to that trucker's family. Hats off to the man who put the public's welfare above his own. I know not every trucker would have swerved.

Twisted sister 's Comment
member avatar

1 dead after fiery tanker truck crash on N.J. Turnpike (Video)

Dramatic dashboard camera footage caught a fiery crash on Wednesday when a tanker truck flipped over a guardrail on the New Jersey Turnpike and burst into flames. The driver was killed.

That's so so sad .. My heart goes out to his family Be safe everyone

Jetguy's Comment
member avatar

What would you do? I would not do a hard swerve. I realize I would probably ram/kill people.

I don't know the specifics, but looks like 55+ mph, and combustible fluid in taker. I would do gradual turn to right or left.

Of course I am speculating.

He is a good man, a hero as others say.

Dave H.'s Comment
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You cant even do that. I pull a tanker; a tanker is a different animal as it is a live load and the fluid in the tank makes it a challenge to drive (shoves you down hills, pulls you back up hills, makes it hard to shift (depending on the weight and viscosity of what's in the tank) and most important, it is VERY easy to roll over. The surge you get used to, but if you stop hard enough and aren't expecting it, the surge can be enough to shove you through the brakes into an intersection.

Best thing you can do in that situation is hit the brakes and pray. You can certainly swerve, but even if you do get it under control, the side surge will probably put you on your side. There is a small chance if you think about it fast enough you can get it straight and hit the brakes to change the direction of the surge before it knocks you over, but nothing I would risk a rig on.

As a tanker driver, I would say he knew the risks, and was trying to save lives. You know if you swerve at speed that it's over.

I find when I'm driving, I always ask myself 'what if' questions and try to keep that following distance open. 4 wheelers make that difficult sometimes though, they don't understand the risks around them. Asking those questions help you react quickly in an emergency.

For what it's worth, I would do the same thing. If I was out of options, I would rather make myself an exit and only put myself at risk rather than drive right into traffic hauling any sort of hazmat , especially anything flammable. Its a risk that's more elevated by pulling liquids. I personally feel if you can't see the logic in that, you have no business driving a tanker truck.

This is tragic, but I commend the driver for saving lives by sacrificing his own.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jetguy's Comment
member avatar

You cant even do that. I pull a tanker; a tanker is a different animal as it is a live load and the fluid in the tank makes it a challenge to drive (shoves you down hills, pulls you back up hills, makes it hard to shift (depending on the weight and viscosity of what's in the tank) and most important, it is VERY easy to roll over. The surge you get used to, but if you stop hard enough and aren't expecting it, the surge can be enough to shove you through the brakes into an intersection.

Best thing you can do in that situation is hit the brakes and pray. You can certainly swerve, but even if you do get it under control, the side surge will probably put you on your side. There is a small chance if you think about it fast enough you can get it straight and hit the brakes to change the direction of the surge before it knocks you over, but nothing I would risk a rig on.

As a tanker driver, I would say he knew the risks, and was trying to save lives. You know if you swerve at speed that it's over.

I find when I'm driving, I always ask myself 'what if' questions and try to keep that following distance open. 4 wheelers make that difficult sometimes though, they don't understand the risks around them. Asking those questions help you react quickly in an emergency.

For what it's worth, I would do the same thing. If I was out of options, I would rather make myself an exit and only put myself at risk rather than drive right into traffic hauling any sort of hazmat , especially anything flammable. Its a risk that's more elevated by pulling liquids. I personally feel if you can't see the logic in that, you have no business driving a tanker truck.

This is tragic, but I commend the driver for saving lives by sacrificing his own.

Dave H- I'm thinking if I do a hard swerve to right, I don't know where I'm going to end up.

You said you would do the hard right swerve. So what you're doing is better to save lives- because you're hitting the right shoulder where no vehicles are. Makes sense.

Just trying to think it through- same as you.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dave H.'s Comment
member avatar

If you swerve hard, you will probably clear the road before it goes over, but it depends on a lot of factors. You most likely wont keep it right side up though.

You can see in the video that he swerved, got over to the guardrail, and then tried to save it after clearing traffic. You can also see that he got it straight, but the surge kept pushing the tank towards and over the guardrail so the tractor had no choice but to do the same.

Swerving is a last resort. It's really not even considered an option if you are loaded. If you have the ability to at all, you keep it straight and hit those brakes.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Dave H.'s Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't do that unless I knew that I would probably end up seriously hurting or killing people. I'm not concerned about ruining their cars, that's what insurance is for. Otherwise I'd be using those brakes.

Someone said it on here before though... a lot of these issues can be avoided by allowing for the proper following distance. I understand that wasn't necessarily the case here, but it's something worth keeping in mind.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Belluavir's Comment
member avatar

I care more about my husband than strangers, if someone had to die I would rather it not be me especially if it isnt my fault.

Btw, why buy an expensive SUV if it cant even drive over a damn mattress.

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