How Quickly It Can Go Wrong

Topic 32466 | Page 1

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Ryan B.'s Comment
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The following took place this past Saturday.

I was driving I-75 south through Knoxville where it runs conjoined with I-40 west. Speed limit was 65 and I was going 62. I started seeing signs for a weigh station and then ELD indicated to follow road signs for weigh station. Traffic was a little heavy, but flowing well. For this reason and anticipating possibly pulling into the weigh station, I slowed down to 55. I saw the sign indicating the weigh station was closed, so I kept rolling, maintaining 55 without being passed much. Just as I was coming up on the weigh station exit ramp, I hear the distinctive sounds of squealing tires then crunching glass and metal. I heard it up ahead and to my left. Sure enough, an accident involving at least 2 vehicles, possibly a 3rd, in the far left lane and maybe 100 yards ahead. As soon as my head comes back to the road in front of me, there is one of the vehicles that had been in the wreck...stopped in my lane. I had tapped the brakes as soon as I heard the sounds of the wreck to begin slowing down. I was at 52-53 at this point and there was no way for me to stop before plowing through the car in front of me.

So, to give a better mental picture of how this car ended up in front of me seemingly suddenly, there was a truck on my left that had come around me to pass. When the wreck happened, the nose of the trailer for the other vehicle was about even with my driver side door. I suspect that the car was drifting over from the left lane and that the truck to my left just missed it, but I didn't see the car coming over because of where the truck was positioned in relation to my line of sight.

I was passing the weigh station now and had the entrance ramp clear coming out of the weigh station. I checked all mirrors on the right side to be sure that I wasn't going to be making a bad situation worse by going into that entrance ramp lane. I slowed down as well as I could while avoiding a hard braking issue. The distance between myself and the stopped vehicle, even if I had stomped down on the brakes, I would not have stopped in time and likely would have lost control of the vehicle in the process. I was able to steer clear of the car with 3 car lengths to spare. If I hadn't had that entrance ramp lane available, I would have had no choice but to run straight through that car, trying my best to slow down and maintain control. I called 911 as soon as I was clear of the wreck.

We never know when hazardous situations can develop around us with little or no notice beforehand. This is an example of why it is important to always have an out available when it is needed. I am not any kind of special breed of driver. There are plenty of times when I have decided not to slow down as much as I did that day. By slowing down to 55 when I did, and tapping the brakes when I heard the wreck, it gave me that little bit of extra reaction time to be able to maneuver the truck away from a potentially fatal incident. I am a spiritual person, one who puts his faith in God and Jesus Christ. I don't doubt for one second that I had a bit of Divine favor on my side that day, as well as the person in that vehicle that was disabled in my path.

Always be aware of your surroundings and always leave yourself an out, especially when you are coming into areas of merging traffic and/or congestion.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you did an excellent job of keeping your wits about you and not panicking in a dangerous situation.

Does your truck have a camera? I'm curious as to how much blame-if any-a company would place on the driver if you had not had the option to turn into the scale lane and had no choice but to hit the car that had stopped in your lane. Sounds to me like it would have been considered an unavoidable accident. Interested to hear if anyone has a different opinion, and why.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Whew, you really dodged a bullet. Good for you, man. And you make a good point that can never be stated enough: always anticipate trouble and be in the right position to avoid it. Great situational awareness. This is why truck driving is always listed as one of the most dangerous jobs.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you did an excellent job of keeping your wits about you and not panicking in a dangerous situation.

Does your truck have a camera? I'm curious as to how much blame-if any-a company would place on the driver if you had not had the option to turn into the scale lane and had no choice but to hit the car that had stopped in your lane. Sounds to me like it would have been considered an unavoidable accident. Interested to hear if anyone has a different opinion, and why.

Both inward and outward facing cameras.

I hadn't really thought of this from the perspective of fault. You raise a very good point.

Gabriel 's Comment
member avatar

Glad your instincts steered you in the right direction and you were able to avoid that mess.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I’m glad you avoided a catastrophe.

No company will take issue with a hard braking event when attempting to avoid an accident like you described. They will see exactly what happened on the camera…I’ve experienced many situations like you described and never worried about hard braking and never once was taken to task on it and never once lost control of the truck.

ABS will prevent brake lock…whenever something like this happens “knock-it down” as fast as possible.

Since a few days have passed, and you’ve had time to think about it; is there anything you would do differently in the future? How will your vigilance increase? This is not a trick question…because it will eventually happen again, not only to you but others on this forum.

I know you called 911, what about your CB? Did you alert other drivers? Collateral damage can easily occur when traffic quickly backs up behind an accident, including the opposite direction due to gaper delays. Perfect example of when to transmit a CB alert.

There is a lot to be learned from something like this. Thanks for sharing it.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

I’m glad you avoided a catastrophe.

No company will take issue with a hard braking event when attempting to avoid an accident like you described. They will see exactly what happened on the camera…I’ve experienced many situations like you described and never worried about hard braking and never once was taken to task on it and never once lost control of the truck.

ABS will prevent brake lock…whenever something like this happens “knock-it down” as fast as possible.

Since a few days have passed, and you’ve had time to think about it; is there anything you would do differently in the future? How will your vigilance increase? This is not a trick question…because it will eventually happen again, not only to you but others on this forum.

I know you called 911, what about your CB? Did you alert other drivers? Collateral damage can easily occur when traffic quickly backs up behind an accident, including the opposite direction due to gaper delays. Perfect example of when to transmit a CB alert.

There is a lot to be learned from something like this. Thanks for sharing it.

First, I know that there have been moments where we have locked horns with regard to our respective opinions on various topics. However, I appreciate that you responded to my post without bringing anything from past disagreements. I didn't see a trick question in what you asked, but I also appreciate that you made note of it being an honest question intended to have me reflect.

So, I will respond with transparency and honesty.

Ok, so some things that I would do differently. One is not allow the truck on my left to sit in that spot where I have a potential "out" taken away. If he isn't going to accelerate to pass me in a timely manner, then I will simply slow down a couple more mph to let him completely pass and then consider resuming my former speed. In this case, I had 55 on the cruise with foot on the brake in anticipation because there was merging traffic. In hindsight, I could have slowed down to 52 and allowed this truck on my left to clear me, and then resume 55. Second thing that I would do differently is turn off any potential distractions when coming into high traffic areas. Most of us will have some sort of entertainment we listen to at some point on the road, whether the radio, podcasts, or streaming music. I will be turning that off and not taking calls when coming into high traffic areas, most especially areas with merging traffic. I am not indicating that distraction was an issue for me or typically is an issue. You did mention vigilance. I can be focused 90% of the time or even 99% of the time. When does the 1% come? If my 1% comes during that wreck, then I probably plow right through that car that might or might not have had passengers. So, my perspective is to limit the outside stimuli when I need to be most vigilant.

I think that I would still try my best to avoid a hard braking, if I can because of potential vehicles behind me. I know that I would not be blamed for someone rear-ending me in that situation. I am thinking about people's lives. But, if I have no "out" available by changing lanes safely, then I will throw down the engine brake, stomp on the service brake, and use the brake lever to at least slow my speed as much as possible at impact, and hopefully stopping before impact.

I agree that this was a great example of when a CB definitely becomes a useful tool. I was a bit rattled and wanting to make sure that I got to the place I intended to park without issue. Calling 911 was a muscle memory reaction. I have done it many times before driving a truck. I am still new to using a CB, so it wasn't a natural response for me, at least not yet. That will come with time. Once clear of the wreck, I was glad to have avoided hitting anyone and thankful that a chain reaction wreck was avoided, at least from what I saw in my mirrors.

Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

That sounds like an intense event that was handled well.

I've seen more accidents in the past two weeks than I've seen in six months.

It's been sketchy out there.

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

That sounds like an intense event that was handled well.

I've seen more accidents in the past two weeks than I've seen in six months.

It's been sketchy out there.

It definitely had me a bit edgy. The good thing is that I was near where I had already planned to stop for a ling break. I was able to fuel and park (even got a pull-through spot to avoid the need for backing) so that the nervous energy could wear off while not driving.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Ryan wrote:

However, I appreciate that you responded to my post without bringing anything from past disagreements.

Why then did you feel it necessary to bring it up?

wtf-2.gif

I’m trying to help you here… but you cannot resist making things contentious when they don’t need to be. And trust me Ryan…I don’t feel special, you lock horns with many of us…

And for the record? Your answer on “why” you did not broadcast a CB alert is F’ing weak. An excuse. If you were that concerned with others, that should have been done immediately after the 911 call, if not before.

It was the primary point of multiple counter arguments when you claimed they (CB) were not necessary based on something a moronic trainer stated. Your example is exactly “why” they are necessary. A CB can save a life.

For someone who projects themself as all knowing, concerned about safety, it’s baffling that a simple, yet rather urgent CB transmission escapes your ability and inclination. If you can report an emergency via 911, you can broadcast a 30 second CB alert.

My guess? Wasn’t that important to you… right?

confused.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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