A video recently surfaced on the internet of an SUV driver being surrounded by an outlaw biker gang and having his tires slashed. In his attempt at escape, he struck several bikers and was eventually chased, cornered, dragged from his car and beaten by the bikers. It's difficult to see who instigated the confrontation, but most of the comments on the video seem to side with the bikers.
This is worth noting whether you are a trucker or have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer. If even SUV drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers, then clearly, truckers are held to a much higher standard than other drivers. Were the victim of the beating driving a compact car, it would be very easy to side against the biker gang that beat him up. It being an SUV driver, the sheer size of the man's vehicle is held against him because a careless SUV driver can cause a lot more damage than a careless biker or compact car owner.
This goes double for people who operate tractor-trailers. If you're a trucker, then following an accident, public perception may already be inclined to be against you. It might not have been your fault at all, you may have been only incidentally involved in the accident, the other person could be drunk, a career criminal or Charles Manson, but all people are really thinking about is the size of your vehicle.
It's always important for drivers to take notes after an accident, but it is perhaps doubly important for truckers to do this. A few other tips for truckers who want a fair shake should they ever get involved in an accident:
- Be Vigilant of Your Behavior
Maybe you can pull a 20 hour drive without sleep. Maybe you're genetically different. The judge might not see it that way. Sometimes getting enough sleep, getting enough to eat and not touching a drop of alcohol on the road (not even in medicine) has less to do with staying safe and more to do with proving to others that you stay safe should your driving habits be called into question.
- Keep it Clean
Regular maintenance on your car is a good idea. In your truck, it's an urgent necessity. Don't neglect maintenance. Make sure to change your spark plugs as needed, change your oil and filters, check your tubing and belts and so on. Even something as simple as keeping your windshield spotless can go a long way towards staying in the clear.
- 100% Professionalism
In some communities, truck drivers are regarded as having a sort of "outlaw" vibe. This is part of the mystique of the career that pulls some of us into the cab, but some communities may hold your very career as a truck driver against you. The only remedy for this is to be one hundred percent professional while on the road and when dealing with people. A spotless record and a pleasant demeanor are your best allies, along with a great attorney, when dealing with a tractor trailer accident.
Essentially, when it comes to dealing with an accident, the appearance of being a safe driver is just as important as actually being one.