There are many common causes of heavy truck accidents such as driver error, blown truck tires and mechanical problems. Nevertheless, accidents involving heavy trucks are oftentimes blamed on instructions given to them by their GPS device. GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System is made up of a group of satellites. These satellites are designed to communicate with your GPS navigation device to pinpoint your location within certain perimeters. Once your GPS device knows your exact location it is able to determine the best driving directions for you based on your intended destination. You can input a specific address or a location based on your specific needs, such as to find the nearest major shopping center, truckstop or big box store.
As more and more commercial truck drivers get a GPS device accidents are commonly blamed on the GPs directing them to an incorrect location. Truck drivers should use a GPs specifically designed for trucks. Truck drivers have been sent down residential streets, under low bridges and other hazardous conditions.
Truck drivers should not make the mistake of being overconfident in their GPS devices as errors can always occur. These units are not foolproof. Satellite communication and software errors occur in addition to the system possibly being equipped with outdated or incorrect maps. Truck drivers should not rely solely on their GPS but should also have a commercial truck driver road atlas on hand. It is equally important that drivers read signs and that signs are legible and clearly marked. Drivers have been known to collided with bridges that are too low for their truck and trailer. Many of these drivers claim they didn’t see the sign. Nevertheless, they may still be issued a citation. Driving blindly into a bridge is not much different from driving during snowstorms or other inclement weather conditions. You need to be able to see where you are going.
It is most important that truck driver pay attention to their surroundings and road signs as driver inattention is a major cause of many accidents. Truck drivers are especially at risk when encountering low bridges. While expressways have ample height for large trucks, many towns and cities do not. This is especially true in cities like New York and Chicago Many states intentionally built low bridges in certain areas to keep large trucks out. Currently, many of these bridges are under consideration for upgrades or repairs.
It’s not just major cities that have problems with low bridges. A significant number of other major cities as well as smaller towns and cities also have these problems. For example according to the Times Free Press, a Chattanooga daily newspaper, a bridge in Cleveland, TN. takes a significant number of hits each year. This bridge routinely takes hits from commercial vehicles, rental vans and recreational vehicles according to the current Tommy Myers the current Public Works Director. Cleveland officials are currently seeking ways to reduce the number of low bridge crashes.
GPS devices have been cited as a contributing factor in the many low bridge accidents that occur each year. It appears that in many of these cases the GPS devices don’t distinguish between cars and trucks. This is the reason why truck drivers should always pay attention and never blindly follow GPS instructions.