Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators Must Look Far Enough Ahead
Have you or a loved one been involved in a motor vehicle crash involving a tractor trailer? Was your vehicle rear-ended by the commercial motor vehicle?
An important principle taught to all commercial motor vehicle operators is they must also have basic control of their trucks. To drive safely, a commercial motor vehicle operator is taught to always have control of their vehicle’s speed and direction. The safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle requires the operator to be trained and/or have skills in accelerating, steering, stopping and backing.
Now, let’s take the safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle one step further. The Pennsylvania Commercial Driver’s License Manual provides that “to be a safe driver, you need to know what is going on all around your vehicle. Not looking properly is a major cause of accident.” So, for the purposes of this blog, let’s focus (for use of a better term) on a commercial driver’s obligations to sufficiently see far ahead of their vehicle in order to avoid a rear-end crash.
So, why is it important to look ahead? Well, tractor trailers are huge pieces of equipment that take long to slow and/or bring to a stop if circumstances require. So, an operator of one of these pieces of equipment need to be aware of all things going on well ahead of their vehicle.
Is it enough just to look ahead? Many people look ahead, however, they do not look far enough ahead. Commercial drivers are taught, and they must implement such training, to look “far enough ahead” in case circumstances require them to stop, slow down and/or change lanes. All of these specific maneuvers and driving actions take time and a lot of distance. Understanding what is going on ahead allows a commercial driver the opportunity to perform all these driving maneuvers safely and without incident.
Commercial drivers are taught to look at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead, meaning seeing the area where their vehicle will be in 12 to 15 seconds. At highway speeds that usually equals about a quarter of a mile. Commercial drivers are taught to look for vehicles coming onto a roadway, vehicles changing lanes, vehicles that are turning, brake lights of vehicles ahead, roadway conditions, construction zones, traffic signals, etc. which allows for sufficient time to react, change speeds, change lanes and/or stop if necessary. Failure to look far enough ahead may result in a tractor trailer operator having to stop too quickly and/or make a quick lane change. It also results in a tractor trailer being unable to stop and causing a rear-end crash.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a crash involving a tractor trailer, I would be happy to discuss all issues surrounding same. We will investigate all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash and determine whether the commercial driver was in fact looking far enough ahead, and whether they had adequate control over their vehicle. If not, the operator of that commercial motor vehicle may be responsible for causing the crash, along with any injuries you sustained in the crash. Call me as I would love to discuss and see how I can help.