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Within four days, three cars crossed the centerline head-on into the path of 18-wheelers. Stay alert when driving at all times. When driving on an open highway (one lane in each direction), please use extreme vigilance, paying close attention to remaining in your lane of travel. One false move and you may find yourself in the path of an 80,000 pound semi-truck. No matter how big an SUV or car you are driving, the semi-truck will win. The following web articles highlight three incidents that happened within one week alone where the driver of the four wheeled vehicle was not paying close enough attention. If you drive distracted, you may find yourself or your loved ones riding as a passenger in an ambulance or, worse, a helicopter.
On Tuesday, November 26, 2012, a husband and wife were heading northbound when the husband drove his car left of center and hit a semi-truck heading in the opposite direction. The husband was life-flighted, suffering life-threatening injuries. His wife was taken by ambulance for treatment.
On Wednesday, November 28, 2012 , a 55 year old woman driving an SUV on State Route 3 drifted across the centerline and into oncoming traffic into the path of a tractor-trailer. The truck driver, Bob Thomas, was credited with quick thinking that reduced the injuries of the 55 year old driver. Just prior to impact, Mr. Thomas locked up his brakes before turning his tractor-trailer to the west shoulder of the road in an attempt to avoid the SUV. The driver of the SUV owes Thomas for saving her life and risking his own life in the process. Our firm has too often represented a truck driver who sustained career ending injuries in the process of saving the life of a motorist who was not paying attention on an open highway.
On Thursday, November 29, 2012, a car driven by an 80 year old man drove across the center line hitting a semi-tractor and trailer head-on. This elderly gentleman not only injured himself, but earned his two female passengers an emergency trip by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.
The Ohio Commercial Driver License Handbook trains truck drivers the importance of looking far enough ahead because knowing what the traffic is doing on all sides is very important. Truck drivers are trained to “look at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead. That means looking ahead the distance you will travel in 12 to 15 seconds.” At highway speeds that is looking about a quarter mile ahead.
The U.S. Government also sponsors a website bringing public awareness to issues associated with distracted driving. Distracted driving can cost you your life. Be hyper-aware on high-speed, open roadways and educate your loved ones about the perils associated with driver inattention, texting while driving, eating while driving, and/or simply not keeping your eyes on the road. If you are interested in receiving safety tips and learning more about distracted driving and defensive driving, follow me on twitter @SafeDriveHome.
Authored by: Andrew R. Young, Chair of the Trucking Litigation Section, Ohio Association for Justice / Truck Accident Attorney / Licensed Class A, Commercial Drivers License
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