At some point in every driver’s life, he will be faced with the decision: do I stick to the highway, or take the “back roads” home? Expressways allow a car to travel at a fast, consistent speed, but traffic backups and construction can stall progress, leading most travelers to get off at the next exit to find a better way home.
But what happens when truckers make this choice? Are semi drivers putting other drivers at risk every time they leave the highway to find a faster route?
Are You at Risk of a Truck Crash on a Dirt Road?
Even though rural roads see far less traffic than highways and city streets, the risk of suffering fatal injuries due to a crash is twice as likely on dirt or country roads. The number of deadly accidents increases even further when a big rig is involved, most likely due to:
- Unfamiliar roads. Truckers who travel across several states may be unaware of the dangers of rural roads in California. Unmarked roads, hidden driveways and roads crossings, or animals darting across the road can easily cause accidents, especially if the trucker is unsure where he is going.
- Rough terrain. The sandy embankments and steep rocky terrain outside of Riverside can easily cause a trucker’s wheels to spin or become stuck, while narrow roads and ditches increase the risk of a trucker running off the road. In addition, many rural roads are poorly maintained, leading to cavernous potholes and uneven ground.
- Lack of law enforcement. Some drivers take advantage of the deserted nature of rural roads by speeding, neglecting their seat belts, or driving under the influence. Truckers are no exception to this rule, and may attempt to make up for lost time by speeding down a dark country road in hopes of avoiding police detection.
- Railroad crossings. Drivers often travel for miles on rural roads without seeing another car; however, this only makes an accident more likely when another vehicle suddenly appears. A trucker who is dozing off behind the wheel may fail to notice a train approaching—especially if the crossing does not have guardrails.
How Can You Protect Your Loved Ones From These Types of Accidents?
While drivers cannot control a truck driver’s actions, there are many things they can do to reduce the chances of a truck accident on a rural road. First, drivers should always exercise caution in areas where semis are likely to be on the road, such as near construction industrial sites. You should also make a “worst case scenario” plan when driving on country roads, such as adjusting your lane position around a blind corner just in case a truck is traveling toward you.
Finally, drivers should always report illegal or dangerous behaviors, such as swerving in and out of lanes, driving in the dark without headlights, or other actions that could lead to a crash. Be sure to share this article on Facebook to help your friends and family stay safe no matter which roads they take.