Operator avoids accident but loses one of his doubles — Could he have prevented it?

| January 24, 2014

preventable-doublesTruck driver John Doe was driving his doubles down the Pennington Parkway through a view-limited rain shower. The four-lane highway was separated by a grassy median and had a posted speed limit of 65 mph, but Doe cruised at 45, due to the rainy weather. 

Related

Mustang tears out of high-fenced complex, hits truck — Could trucker have prevented it?

While truck driver John Doe was running the speed limit down a two-lane highway, a crazed Mustang driver shot out of a high-fenced apartment complex into Doe's front bumper. Could he have prevented this accident?

He was in the far right lane, and he quickly approached a straight truck crawling at about 35 mph. He passed the truck and was still in the inside line when suddenly a 1971 Mercedes sedan — driven by a beered up driver — jetted across the median heading straight for Doe’s tractor. 

Doe reacted quickly, slamming his wheel to the right and avoiding the collision. 

However, the jerking force caused his rear double to come lose and land in the ditch. 

The Mercedes sped off into the distance. 

Later, Doe was on the receiving end of a preventable accident letter from his carrier, which he contested. The National Safety Council Accident Review Committee rendered the final decision, immediately ruling in Doe’s favor. The committee noted that Doe avoided the accident and could not have anticipated the quick move by the Mercedes.

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  • nuthatrucka

    I bet you any amount he did not work for May Trucking Company

  • Rudy

    Staying in your lane and risking taking the hit is always the best approach. In this case the perp got off Scott Free.

  • chubbz817

    Driver did what he could to miss the car the trailer going into the ditch seems like faulty equipment we don’t know what condition the fifth wheel was in or if the pitch came of the weld I rather lose a trailer with the cargo ok then to kill some one or my self

  • David

    This is a stupid question to start with. Anyone that sees this diagram and says the driver could have avoided this is an idiot. The only way to avoid this is to stay in bed, end of story.

  • Fedup

    I am so sick and tired of stupid articles like this about what if. The way I look at it if you get in a wreck with a truck, even if it’s not your fault you can bet you’re probably going to get a ticket for something that you’re probably going to have to go to court and fight. It’s stupid articles like this that are what’s wrong with the country as a whole !!! Find something better to write about Overdrive Magazine !!!

  • DAGR

    I have learned one thing when it comes to driving…HOLD ON to the steering wheel, maintain your lane, and prepare for impact…Do not jerk, just stay in your lane…

  • david

    May doesn’t pull doubles

  • bigred

    Here`s an idea…..Find a job where you arent required to pull the damn things….

  • Hellbent706

    Sometimes it’s just instinctive to try to avoid the accident. However, the bad side is you end up in an accident anyway regardless while the person that caused it disappears scott free into oblivion, leaving you holding the bag and tied up in litigation. So I did what the cops do. I got 16 cameras all over my truck in every possible direction. I get all idiots on video tape. They’re not hidden and they never stop recording even when the truck is off and I love it! Yeah, You hit my truck and run while I’m sleep I got you. It seems like overkill but to me that’s 16 witnesses riding with me. Much better than a dog. You make a crack-head suicide move in front of me looking for a payday or hope i crash and burn to save your a%#…you will NOT succeed. If he had my video system he would have also had that guys tag numbers recorded and he would not have received a preventable accident strike. I went all out on mine but I highly recommend every truck driver these days need at least 1 to 3 dash cameras with audio. I promise you 3 things…It will be one of the best investments you will ever make. 2…It will save you butt in an accident or even during a DOT inspection with corrupt officers or catch that forklift driver ramming your trailer, damaging the cargo and blaming you. and 3..When people see you got cameras they tend to act more civilized and lawful including DOT. Don’t go cheap on the cameras. Get the ones that can detect license tag numbers at a distance even in the dark.
    It saved me once from a road-rage driver who chased me down 8 blocks on a motorcycle to a red light forced me to stop. He pulled up and spit on me. I ran over his bike. I went to jail because he sued me for reckless endangerment. He found out I had video that showed road-rage. Case was dismissed because he refused to show up in court. No accident on my record. Please Drivers Get Dash-Cams!!!

  • Keith Thompson

    damned if you do damned ,going to quit driving nothing changes but scenery,

  • Vrahnos

    That was the right chose to make in that case.Doubles aren’t the easiest one to pull.around like triples are too.I pilled a 40′ and 24′ doubles around for several years and had some close calls.

  • James

    I have to wonder why the trailer came loose. The Pintle is about the most secure connection I can think of,I’ve never seen a properly connected one come apart. THAT is what I think needs to be investigated. In my opinion,the driver should have held his lane,but I don’t see it as prosecutable that he swerved to avoid an accident,he was within his personal judgment to do so. I say NO ticket,and investigate why the trailer broke free from just a swerve.

  • easymoney

    10/4 stay in bed will work all the time
    As for idiots this world is full of them

  • C-Ray

    I to have to wonder about the trailer coming loose. I’m agreeing with James. Lets see why this trailer is wondering around by itself. As for John Doe, He did the right thing, avoid the accident if you can. At 45 mph you can make that sharp cut, at faster speeds like 55 and up, Dagr becomes the horse to bet on, stay where your at.

  • Daniel Kupke

    I think just the opposite ?? The more we tell n talk about these stupid judge-ments n the more they r brought out into the light the more likely these idiots will realize that we are drivers n not a god that can hold up our hand n prevent some idiot from running over us ??

  • John M. Baxter

    As usual, the auto driver is the culprit but everybody wants to blame the truck driver. Even his bosses!

  • Ace

    @ James – In an accident like that, the only way to not be charged is to show that you tried to avoid the collision at all cost. I think it’s a pretty good article. Our entire time on the road is about what if’s… I’ve been out here 25 plus years and there’s not a day that goes by where I think of the worst case scenario…

  • Christie Fields

    All the more reason to trash stupid dollies and get b trains like the rest of the world including Canada.

  • Christie Fields

    You know this is hypothetical right?

  • Ace

    @ Hellbent – that is the best answer. To bad it had to have cost a pretty penny, but, well worth it I am sure…Awesome !!!

  • Hellbent706

    Thanks Ace. It’s not too expensive if you shop around. I paid $250 for the DVR and $800 for the cameras on Amazon. Only 3 of the cameras are able to detect license tag numbers, the rest are just high resolution with 200 foot night vision. You can start with 1 good camera for $500 and add a camera at a time later. I saved money money by installing it myself.

  • Thompson Pass Trucker

    I totally agree with Daniel, below. Publicizing this BS is necessary to let everyone know how one-sided and lopsided that rulings coming from the carriers and insurance companies are.
    I’m really frustrated with all of the rulings that go against drivers who are minding their own business, traveling safely and are hit by some 4-wheeler moron who isn’t driving – they’re just wheelin’.

  • aeroflyer

    hellbent706, You got that right, I was in an accident where there were two lanes and I was making a wide turn so my rear trailer axles would not jump the curb and damage the guardrail. Everybody behind me let me go first but this 70 yr old lady decided that she needed to get home fast so she snuck in between my trailer (~ half down my trailer), and as I began my turn I totalled her car between my trailer and the sidewalk. I only wish i had invested in those 16 cameras. Ouch!!! Did 6k odamage to her car.

  • aeroflyer

    hellbent706, what kind of cameras did you purchase so you can get the tags??
    Thanks!

  • Hellbent706

    It’s really more like an extreme super high resolution camera. I found mine on Amazon for under $200 each. Just type in “license plate camera” in the Amazon search engine but if you got deep, deep pockets you can go for the High speed vehicle (Automatic License Detection & Recognition) camera through a simple web search engine.

  • wing

    snapped the pintle hook clean off the lead trailer..that trailer did not just ‘come off’. stupidity is reported..yet ignorance by the reporter and the company experts say the driver was at fault,yet this tells us the conditions were limiting
    and a number of small incidents generally lead to a larger one. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

  • wing

    I’ve seen more than one come apart, shearing the bolts clean off the lead trailer…you can only stress metal so far, and this driver cracked the whip…shear- energy with mass times speed….crystallizes the metal just like hard sugar in a candy cane…see the picture? So he had angels on his wings….no one was hurt!
    MANY companies have safety departments with ‘experts’ with a lot of wall paper, yet no real road driving experience….and must do their do diligence to the insurance company…taking the onus off themselves for tort litigation and putting it squarely on the driver…they are proactive in their paperwork
    ‘safety’ response.
    Captain of the ship is the driver……the company probably saw the incident as ‘not driving to meet the conditions’ with the evidence of passing the truck going 35 mph and the oncoming imminent head on from the opposite side caused by hydroplane
    conditions…was this driver over driving the conditions even at 45 mph/ windshield washout on a posted 65 mph road?
    he was fortunate not to kill or be killed.

  • wing

    shear-energy from the crack the whip move on the drivers part… the metal takes the force and the energy makes the metal crystallize like hard sugar in a candy cane.. the pintle hook will likely break at the lead trailer bolts holding the plate and off the trailer goes. If the trailers and hooks are old add metal fatigue. In this situation he is fortunate not to kill someone or himself.
    Not blaming the driver, yet the safety department was looking at whether the driver was over-driving the conditions… passing a truck going 35 mph and at even 45 mph in a 65 mph zone with heavy rain in a windshield washout driving condition…then a hydroplaning vehicle crossing the median from the opposite traveled portion of the road…
    Safety will write you up for not getting the big picture. No one hurt yet there is a set of doubles here…longer combination with mass times speed and you can bet the farm the oncoming vehicle’s
    driver /family would have sued for a lot of money had that driver been severely injured by contact or killed. Again…fortunate no one died. No super truckers here.
    Lesson learned?

  • wing

    article says the 1971 Mercedes driver was ‘beered’ up…hydroplaning across the median….my thought is that…staying in the lane of travel is considered the best approach yet how many drivers of any vehicle swerve when they come upon a deer? We weren’t that driver and since no one is reported killed or injured in the article…the driver made his best response and came out with a hand slap..consider the alternate scenarios.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    The truck driver should of just stopped or kept on going maybe the guy in the Mercedes would of died no worriers for the trucker. This article shows just how stupid people are .

  • Jim Kennedy

    whether hypo or not, u know if u have acc, mgmts. first reaction is to blame u, not to stand bhind u. if mgmt. had cdl, they’d b more informative right, realistically, tr driver is blamed n is assumed responsible until proven innocent which sometimes its up to the driver to do out of their pocket.