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Inadequate surveillance plays a role in many accidents

Maneuvering a commercial vehicle is no easy feat, as drivers all over Georgia are surely aware. One important aspect of safely driving a commercial vehicle entails surveillance, or taking in one’s surroundings before attempting to make any maneuvers that can affect other vehicles. Failure to account for other vehicles on the road is known as inadequate surveillance, as described by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Inadequate surveillance reportedly causes up to 14 percent of accidents involving large trucks. Because of the dimensions of most commercial trucks, it can be difficult for drivers to assess any potential obstacles or dangers. Defensive driving is recommended to this end, as these behaviors can lessen the chance of a deadly accident from occurring. Defensive driving behaviors can include maintaining a safe speed at all times and leaving enough distance between vehicles to react accordingly to sudden events. Staying alert is equally important, especially to any passenger cars that could possibly occupy a commercial vehicle’s blind spot.

Merging and changing lanes should also be performed with caution. These maneuvers can be quite dangerous when undertaken by larger vehicle, particularly when attention is not being paid to the rest of the road’s occupants. Truck drivers are encouraged to look left, right and left again before entering an intersection.

In addition to those safety tips meant to decrease the harmful impact of inadequate surveillance, the National Traffic Safety Institute also recommends some useful methods passenger vehicles can implement to decrease the risk of commercial vehicle accidents from occurring. Driving too closely behind a large commercial vehicle to increase fuel-efficiency (often called drafting) is a very dangerous practice that can result in catastrophe should the leading truck need to stop suddenly. Drivers of passenger vehicles should also be cautious of large trucks making a turn; one should never attempt to squeeze past a truck as it is turning, as the truck may inadvertently drive over the smaller vehicle. 

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