When you drive, the most important rule is to keep your eyes on the road always, because a split second is enough to create a fatal accident. We have already given you a couple of tips on how to stay alert while driving, in one of our previous blog posts – The Dangers Of Driving Distracted Or Tired. These tips include getting enough sleep, walking for at least 30 minutes a day, keeping the music level low, respecting the speed limit, and keeping your safety belt on. Try not to haul overweight loads, and be especially careful if you don’t have plenty of experience.
But if an accident does happen, these are the first steps you should take.
If needed, call the police and the ambulance
The police report will be necessary for the insurance to cover the expenses of fixing your truck and/or trailer. The insurance will also cover the costs of towing, road cleanup, lane closure, and other costs related to the accident, except the injuries which will be covered by the insurance of the person who caused the accident.
Try to gather as much proof as possible
If the damage is minor and the police won’t come to the accident scene, it is important to take the responsible driver’s written statement in which they take responsibility for the accident. Then, a picture of their driver’s license, insurance info, and DOT number, or written statements of eyewitnesses who can testify in your favor. All of these factors will help the claims department to compensate for any losses caused by the accident when presenting it to the insurance company. Another thing to consider is installing a dashcam in your truck, which is relatively inexpensive but could protect you from beyond reasonable doubt.
Contact the safety department
Try explaining what happened, in as many details as possible. If you aren’t injured and can get out of the truck, try taking pictures of your truck and sending them to the safety department. If you aren’t sure how to reach them, you can call your dispatcher who will forward all of the information regarding the accident to them.
Apply proper signaling
If you are unable to move the vehicle, make sure to secure the lane to prevent any more vehicles from crashing into your truck, by activating flashers and setting out reflective triangles or flares. Triangles and flares should be properly positioned:
- The first device should be positioned in the direction of approaching traffic, within 10 feet of the last vehicle involved in the accident, and on the traffic side.
- A second device should be placed about 100 feet behind the accident scene, facing approaching traffic, and in the center of the lane or shoulder where the truck and other vehicles involved in the accident are stopped.
- The third device should be placed about 100 feet in front of the accident scene and facing traffic approaching from the other direction.
If any part of your truck or trailer is in flames, try not to panic and detach the trailer from the truck to prevent the fire from spreading!
Send your location
After the safety department reviews pictures of your truck and the overall accident scene, they will estimate if the truck is severely damaged and needs to be towed. It is in your best interest for the company to organize the towing of the truck since other towing companies can overbill you for minor truck damages.
Check your load
Being a professional driver, you also need to be aware of any damage that your load might’ve had during the accident. When contacting your dispatcher, let them know if the load has been damaged and send them your location so that they can dispatch another driver to pick up your load and deliver it to the facility. Make sure to only open your trailer to check the load if your trailer wasn’t sealed after being loaded. The seal guarantees that the cargo isn’t contaminated, stolen, or in any other way tampered with.
We hope you won’t ever need these tips, but if an accident does occur, they may come in handy and help you go through it a little bit easier. You can always be sure that Super Ego’s safety and claims departments will have your back and help you along the way. Again, we would like to point out to everyone to stay alert and be careful while driving, and we wish you the best of luck on the road!