Even the safest and most experienced truck drivers cannot avoid all accidents. Driving for over 11 hours a day provides countless opportunities for an accident to occur. According to TruckInfo, over 500,000 truck driving accidents happen every year. While 75% of these accidents are the fault of a passenger vehicle, the truck and truck driver are still involved. Even if you consider yourself a safe driver, consider brushing up on the proper procedures to take in case you happen to find yourself in an unfortunate trucking accident.
Assess the people involved in the accident
After immediately calling the authorities and ensuring your own safety and health, make sure the other party or parties are in good condition. If there are injuries sustained, you should have basic first aid training to be able to tend to the other parties’ injuries. Unless there is a threat of a fire, avoid moving the injured people from their position, and stop any bleeding that is occurring by applying pressure.
While being first aid trained and CPR certified are not requirements for truck drivers, there have been instances where a properly trained driver was able to take care of themselves and other parties involved and provide enough time for the paramedics to arrive. In this instance, being first aid and/or CPR trained could save a life.
Evaluate your inventory
This step is especially important if the items you are carrying are harmful or could potentially cause damage from the accident. Double check your company’s protocol for assessing potential damage or preventing possible spills.
After checking for potential injuries, be sure to alert the area and oncoming vehicles of the accident. In the case of a trucking accident, it is generally recommended to not move vehicles from their position after the accident, so sending out flares or implementing* emergency flashers and/or lights is a good way to alert oncoming traffic of the stopped vehicles ahead. Utilizing these measures will also help prevent other accidents from happening as a result of your accident.
Cooperate with the officers at the scene
The arriving officers and personnel are required to administer blood and alcohol tests as a part of protocol. While you may know that you would never drive under the influence, proof of sobriety will assist you later in assuring you do not have your license revoked. Failure to comply with officers’ protocol could result in you losing CDL qualification and, potentially, your job.
Contact your employer
After the scene has been cleared and your injuries have been assessed, it is important to inform your employer of the details of the accident. Not only can they help in the instance of a damaged vehicle, but they may also contact the insurance agency on your behalf and determine the best course of action to make sure the inventory gets delivered on time.
Work with the insurance agency
In the instance that you are a freelance driver or your company needs you to be in contact with the insurance agency, you may have to provide a copy of your driving logs as well as photos from the scene of the accident. This is when documents acquired at the scene, like your cleared blood and alcohol tests, will assist in expediting the process.
While many accidents are avoidable, no driver is completely insusceptible to potential accidents. Knowing the immediate steps to take after an accident has occurred will simplify the process for the parties involved and potentially save lives. Read our posts on preventing distracted driving and working as a truck driver in the heat for more tips on safe driving. And contact us today for more information about truck products and working as a driver in the industry!