California has some of the busiest highways in the country, and trucks make up many of the vehicles on the roads. No matter how long you have been driving, you might still get nervous when driving around trucks.
This is understandable. Many seasoned drivers feel the same way. Trucks are larger than all other vehicles on the road and this means in an accident with a truck you are the one likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries.
The situation becomes even worse when truckers do not follow the traffic laws. Like any other driver, truckers are susceptible to distracted driving, drowsy driving or aggressive driving.
While all these are dangerous behaviors that increase the chance of an accident, encountering an aggressive truck driver can be especially scary.
Signs of an aggressive truck driver
Aggressive truck drivers are usually easy to spot. They are likely speeding, abruptly shifting between lanes, tailgating other drivers or braking too hard. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as “dangerous on-the-road behavior.”
There are many causes of aggressive driving in the trucking industry. Truck drivers work long hours and driving is often exhausting. This fatigue necessarily leads to impatience and irritability, which results in aggressive driving.
Stress from getting behind schedule can cause truckers to drive aggressively. Falling behind due to weather conditions, road construction or traffic backups can increase anger and frustration that truckers take out on other drivers.
Sometimes the cause of aggressive driving comes from outside forces, such as stress in the truck driver’s personal life or another aggressive driver on the road.
Avoiding aggressive truck drivers
The best way to avoid an aggressive truck driver is to stay as far away from them as you can. You should generally not get too close to trucks, but you should especially stay away from a truck that appears to have an aggressive driver.
Do not engage with the truck driver and do not try to match their behavior. Drive safely and responsibly. If you are in a road construction zone or one lane road and cannot avoid them, make sure there is plenty of room between your vehicles.
If a truck is tailgating you or keeps slowing down so you eventually catch up to them again, consider pulling over in a safe place. This will let them get far enough ahead that you can avoid them. If you have details about the truck or a license plate number, calling the police to report the behavior could help other drivers on the road.
Aggressive driving is negligent driving, particularly when the vehicle involved is a large truck. An accident involving a truck can mean major injuries, the loss of your vehicle and future physical and mental problems.
While nothing can make up for the physical and mental toll a truck accident has on your life, the truck driver could be held accountable through a personal injury claim. Proving negligence may provide you with compensation for your damages.