The history books tell us accidents have been happening since 1771! That’s when the French engineer and mechanic Nicolas Joseph Cugnot drove his steam-powered vehicle into a wall. Back then, the world wasn’t cluttered with giant tractor-trailers, buses and variety of over-sized vehicles, so this was quite the spectacle.
Personal injuries, traffic deaths and wreckage at the side of the road are practically expected, some 240 years later. We passenger vehicle drivers have accepted the fact that we must share our roads with large, commercial vehicles like 18-wheel trucks. Doesn’t it seem, though, when it comes to traffic incidents, that their power to destroy lives seems out of balance?Strength comes in numbers. Or is it size? In a 2010 report, the Truck Safety Coalition says tractor-trailer accidents total about 10% of highway deaths every year despite the fact that big trucks make up only 4% of registered vehicles. Of every 10 people who are killed by a traffic accident every year, one of them is the victim of a big truck accident.
Nashville is a crossroads for big transportation. Our location at the intersection of Interstates 65, 24 and 40 is a major thoroughfare for big truck traffic. Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Columbia, Dickson and Clarksville all get more than their fair share of traffic just based on their locations outside of Nashville, among and between so many delivery points. Big cities and small towns alike need provisions that are delivered to them via 18-wheelers. So, over our highly populated hills and dales, Tennessee drivers must be on high alert for dangerous tractor-trailer traffic everywhere, all the time.
So, how do we, the little passenger vehicle driver, protect ourselves and our property when these 30-ton monstrosities are on all of our roads? Visit The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They offer some excellent tips for passenger vehicle drivers on safely sharing the road with big trucks. These tips are provided from the perspective of 18-wheeler drivers. That’s valuable knowledge – understanding ways to avoid danger from the big guy’s point of view.
The Truck Safety Coalition is a joint effort of two grass-roots tractor-trailer safety organizations, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation.