History’s first car accident was recorded more than 240 years ago when Nicolas Joseph Cugnot, a French engineer and mechanic, drove his steam-powered vehicle into a wall in 1771. That wreckage is on display at a museum in France still today. Society has become so used to them now that modern-day car accidents are hardly history-making, museum-worthy events!
We passenger vehicle drivers share the roads with over-sized tractor-trailers, buses and the like so frequently that personal injuries, highway fatalities and roadside wreckage are practically an accepted hazard. Doesn’t it seem the balance swings in favor of those giant 18-wheelers, too? The Truck Safety Coalition says tractor-trailer wrecks comprise about 10% of all highway fatalities each year. It should be noted, big trucks make up only 4% of registered vehicles and one of every 10 people killed in a traffic accident is a victim of a tractor-trailer crash.
Coloradans in particular need to feel prepared and on alert when sharing our roads with 18-wheelers. Big cities and small mountain towns all need the supplies that big trucks deliver. Trinidad, Lamar and Rocky Ford get tractor-trailer traffic just like Colorado Springs and Pueblo. As 18-wheelers head towards Denver and points farther west, there are tricky mountain roads or the high speed traffic of Interstate 70 with which to contend. So how can we, diminutive Davids to their Goliath-sized trucks, protect ourselves and our vulnerable cars in all these places?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides some helpful tips to passenger vehicle drivers on safely sharing the roads with big trucks. Be sure to share these with all of the drivers in your household. Everybody can brush-up on driving safety and road etiquette as seen from the truck drivers’ perspective.
The Truck Safety Coalition is a joint effort of two grass roots tractor-trailer safety organizations, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation.