Heavy Trucks of all sizes are involved in accidents of all types including low bridge accidents. Oftentimes these result in catastrophic outcomes. There are many reasons for heavy truck accidents. Driver error, incorrect directions and speeding are some of the other common causes of accidents.
Commercial truck drivers are trained professionals. Truck driving schools teach drivers how to drive and safely operate commercial trucks and trailers. Some of them also teach map reading and trip planning skills. If you don’t know how to read a road map, buy all means take the time to learn. It always a good idea for truck drivers to possess a good commercial truck driver road atlas. A good road atlas can be used alone or as a backup for a GPS unit which may not have updated map information for commercial trucks.
Truck drivers should get directions prior to heading out to pick up or deliver loads. Getting accurate directions saves time, fuel and money. Drivers can sometimes obtain telephone numbers customers to clarify directions. This can be especially beneficial to drivers going into unfamiliar areas because local residents know their areas well and can advise drivers of possible problems in getting to their destination.
Drivers should of course know the height of their truck and trailer. Drivers should also know well in advance if bridges or overpasses are on their planned route. This knowledge will enable them to determine if their truck has the required clearance to safely clear the overpass. If they cannot safely clear the overpass they should plan an alternate trip route. They should never proceed with the assumption that they can somehow clear the bridge in spite of the warning sign.
Low bridge clearances should be prominently marked. A good truck GPS unit can often identify low bridges. However, if you use a GPS be sure it is designed for commercial trucks and has low clearance information. Oftentimes, GPS units give incorrect directions to truck drivers. Drivers have been misled and have crashed into bridges when following routes given to them by their GPS units.
The driver may have missed signs warning about the overpass and instructions directing drivers to a truck route. In these cases the driver may not even realize he has passed under an overpass which is too low until he actually crashes. Nevertheless, the driver will still be issued a traffic citation. Some charges may include careless driving, reckless endangerment, imprudent speed, exceeding bridge height limits and failing to obey a truck route.
According to a New York Times interview with New York Senator Charles E. Shumer, “Eighty percent of all the trucks that get stuck under bridges are a result of using the wrong GPS.” The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set new recommendations for GPS systems approved for used in commercial trucks. It will take into consideration the vehicle’s height, weight and contents to direct it to the appropriate roads. Read more here: