This question is currently heard and read almost daily. And almost daily one hears, reads and sees about serious truck accidents, in which traffic jam ends are overlooked, there are dead and injured. But why do all these terrible accidents happen?
There are various statements: “Mobile phone and laptop use while driving!” is probably the most common argument. But I personally do not see it as “simple”. I think many factors come together. It is not possible to determine at one point why there are so many accidents at the moment. Stress, rush, the weather, inattention, distraction by laptop, mobile phone etc., the own health, overtaking bans, egoism, overestimation of one’s own abilities, technical condition of the vehicles, deadline pressure, too little distance, overtiredness, wrong nutrition, unfortunately alcohol is also a topic and and and. All these factors can cause a chain reaction which then leads to such accidents. In my opinion, the biggest factor or the main cause is overestimation of one’s own capabilities and selfishness. Many are of the opinion: “Nothing like that will happen to me” or “I have several little helpers who protect me!” And that’s deadly!
Relying on the little helpers alone is deadly. Because technology is vulnerable, can fail and is only as good as the person who operates it. First and foremost, this means that you need to be trained in handling such little helpers and that you need to keep yourself regularly informed.
And as long as the drivers do not take this into account, nothing will change in serious accidents.
Getting stressed and rushed makes no sense. I’d rather be there later, but safe and sound. This stress leads to inattention and distraction. Suddenly a traffic jam is overlooked and that’s when it happens. And this is just one of many possible chain reactions.
The same applies to any trouble you may have had, whether at home, with customers or with the company. This does not belong behind the wheel. You become, perhaps unconsciously, aggressive yourself and it affects your driving behaviour.
In addition there are probably drivers who simply don’t WANT to! Who are resistant to all accident pictures or scenarios. Otherwise I can’t explain why so many colleagues still don’t keep their safety distance. EVERYONE of them is not blind and deaf to the many press reports about the serious accidents.
EVERYONE has seen accidents in which people may have died. And yet they do not keep their distance, play games with their mobile phones at the wheel, watch DVDs while driving…
Many of us can certainly name umpteen more reasons that can cause an accident. First of all, probably the car drivers are mentioned, some of whom also play their part in causing serious accidents. But not ALL accidents can be explained with the “excuse”.
Another point is also the personal condition, be it health, mental or physical.
If you are in poor health, and everyone knows this, you are not really 100 percent there. Then there are possible worries about the family, the job and yourself.
Especially now, in times of Corona, it is hard for every driver. On the one hand, you are part of system-relevant professions, on the other hand, conditions on the road, at the customer, at service stations, car parks, etc. are not really the best. Showers, food, toilet… all that is difficult. Then there is the treatment at the customer: Waiting times due to company hygiene regulations, sometimes drivers are treated like “lepers”. Unfortunately I have heard this from my drivers themselves.
All this is poison for concentration and attention.
But… we are all just human and you can’t (unfortunately) switch to 100% working mode at the push of a button. The brain makes us ponder where we can actually use it the least; while driving, before falling asleep. And this leads to insomnia, bad sleep etc. and resulting from this overtiredness. The fact that you can’t get 100% the following day is not something you need to discuss.
So what can you do, what can EVERYONE do to avoid these serious accidents?
First of all, everyone should be aware that the rear of the car in front could be your own death sentence.
Then this mobile phone and laptop use: one look at it and the safety distance is gone!
Minimize distraction by various other things
No driver should rely on all his little helpers in the truck. Distance cruise control, lane keeping assistant, brake assistant, distance sensor etc. can also be defective or have a malfunction. And above all: the assistance systems must not be switched off! Because they can only provide support when they are also in operation.
Sleep sufficiently. Ok…this will not always be possible because the parking situation does not really allow it. Sleeping directly with the ear on the motorway, loud and crowded rest areas and parking lots etc. do not necessarily make sleeping better.
Regular voluntary medical check-ups by the family doctor. Overtiredness, exhaustion and lack of concentration can also have health causes. In my case, for example, it was iron and vitamin D3 deficiency. Now I take iron and vitamin D3 daily and I feel better. Small cause, big effect.
There are hundreds of possibilities that can be quickly remedied. Just have a blood count done and many things can be excluded or corrected.
Finally, all that remains is for me to appeal to all my colleagues:
Please drive carefully, don’t let them rush or stress you. No goods or customers are so important that you endanger others or yourself. Think of your families, who want you back home safe and sound.
Try not to take every hassle behind the wheel. Take breaks if things get too rough again. Even if it gets stressful, because only an alert mind can work awake.
Respect and less selfishness is good for everyone, no matter if car or truck driver.
Leave your fingers off your mobile phone, laptop, tablet etc. One look at it and it could be the last look!
Every one of us can help to prevent accidents; every one of us plays an important role in making road traffic safer. And this regardless of nationality!
And most important of all: keep your distance!
Better too much than too little, because distance saves lives – not only that of the driver.
Daniela Kampschulte is a professional truck driver from Attendorn in the Sauerland-region of Germany. She has been behind the wheel since 2005, before she switched to the “other side of power”. Since 2018 Daniela has now been working as a dispatcher. For the Saloodo! Blog she writes about everything concerning her job and everything that has to do with it! And also funny things should not be missing there of course …