When you drive a semi truck, you will spend many hours on the road, whether you drive a local route, or if you drive trucks across the country. Some drivers work on a freelance basis finding their own clients while others work for a trucking company. There are strict guidelines about how you operate your truck, the number of hours you spend on the road before taking breaks and regular maintenance. These are all in place to prevent accidents. However, sometimes accidents do happen, and often it is not the fault of the truck driver. It is important to be prepared before you get in an accident so that you clearly know what to do and how to respond.
When you are in an accident, the first step is to make sure that everyone is safe. You should call authorities immediately to come to the accident. They can bring the emergency help you need, and it will protect you after the accident is over. You should understand basic first aid training and try not to move anyone unless there is a danger of fire or further injury if the people who are injured stay where they are. You can use pressure to help stop bleeding. Once the authorities arrive, you should allow them to take over the medical care of each patient.
After you have made sure everyone is safe, you will need to check on the cargo that you are carrying. If you are carrying cargo that is dangerous or can damage the environment, you need to know the protocol of preventing spills, and what you need to check for to make it is not damaged. You may want to use flares to help oncoming traffic avoid the area where the accident until everything can be cleaned up. This may also help to prevent future accidents. The authorities will likely set up a better roadblock once they arrive and begin to clean up the accident.
Once you have completed these steps, you will need to call your insurance agency and your employer. Your employer may want you to call them, and then they will call the insurance agency for you. If you are working as a freelance driver, you need to make sure that you carry enough insurance to cover the loads you carry as well as an injuries and damage that may happen as a result of the accident. You need enough insurance to protect you if you are sued. Your employer will work with sending you a new rig or someone to pick up the goods if they are not damage to have the delivery completed on time.
After the accident, you will need to work closely with the insurance company and answer all of the questions the agent may have about the accident. This will likely include a review of your mile and rest logs, as well as current road conditions. You may want to snap a few photos of the accident scene in case the insurance agency wants to use them as part of the process. Your company may have specific policies about driving after an accident. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, you may have to have your CDL qualification reviewed. The best way to avoid losing your license is to work with the officers at the scene of the accident and willingly subject yourself to the blood and alcohol tests that they may decide to administer. As long as you are following the laws of the road and the regulations set forth for the trucking industry, you should be okay.
Here is more information on dealing with a semi truck accident:
- So You’ve Had an Automobile Accident. What’s Next?: This article explains both the immediate steps to take following an accident and the things you will need to do over the next few weeks.
- Steps to Follow After an Accident: This article has a step by step checklist you should follow immediately following an accident. You may want to print it out and keep it with you in your truck.
- Filing an Accident Claim: This article explains how to deal with the insurance company after you have an accident.
- The Claims Process: This article takes you through the steps of filing a claim after getting in an accident.
- Fender Benders – Are You Prepared?: This article talks about the things you can do to prevent the most common types of vehicle accidents.
- Drowsy Driving and Automobile Accidents: This article talks about avoiding accidents due to being too tired while driving. The research will help most long haul truck drivers.