Being involved in any kind of car accident runs the risk of personal injury, even death. That risk increases substantially when there’s a significant discrepancy between the size of the vehicles involved in the crash. Trucks are incredibly large, heavy vehicles, and if they’re involved in crashes, they can cause serious injuries and deaths. The destruction that can be caused by vehicles this size is scary.
But, if your drivers ARE involved in an accident, here are some tips on how they should handle the situation.
7 proactive actions an employer can take to prevent truck accidents
There are a few steps you as an employer can take to ensure your drivers are equipped to a) avoid an accident if possible, and b) handle themselves in the event of an accident:
- Ensure your vehicles are roadworthy.
- Ensure your drivers are properly licenced, trained and qualified.
- Conduct the necessary background checks on your drivers.
- Conduct mandatory drug tests on your drivers (bearing in mind your employees’ labour rights).
- Instruct your drivers to take regular breaks during their deliveries (see our previous blog on combatting driver fatigue).
- Ensure your drivers maintain accurate driver logs to ensure you are always aware of everything.
- Ensure your company performs the necessary inspection and maintenance checks on your vehicles at the required intervals.
9 dos and don’ts: What to do straight after your driver has been in a truck accident
- Never run away from a truck accident site. If someone has been injured in the accident, and you do not stop, you may face criminal and civil proceedings in a hit-and-run truck accident.
- Report the accident – notify the police of the truck accident, giving the necessary details. It’s important to call the police, even if the other person involved in the accident says that they can help and take care of the accident and can fix your car. This way you can have official documentation of the incident.
- If anyone has been seriously hurt, call an ambulance to help them. Do not move the injured person on your own.
- Do not move your damaged vehicle. If there is any doubt about why the truck accident was caused, experts can reconstruct the accident scene by taking into account the position of the damaged vehicles, skid marks, tyre tracks, etc.
- Once the police arrive, co-operate fully with them, but do not divulge any unnecessary details. Try not to make comments such as, ‘I did not see the other car,’ or ‘I was not speeding a lot,’ or anything else that may indicate that you are to blame for the truck accident.
- If any insurance adjusters are at the scene, other than those from your own insurance company, do not say anything to them. Never give any statement in writing or sign anything without first retaining the services of an attorney. Notify your insurance carrier about the truck accident and take down the details of the other party’s insurance company and their name and address. It’s also important to have your own insurance information on hand, and to know what your policy is, so you know how you are protected.
- Note the license plate numbers of all the vehicles involved in the truck accident, and also take down their vehicle identification numbers. If there are any witnesses to the truck accident, take down their personal details as well.
- Take pictures of the damaged vehicles and the accident site.
- See a doctor for any injuries that you may have sustained. Even if there are no apparent injuries, it is best to get a medical examination done after a truck accident, in order to rule out any internal injuries or other problems which may not be immediately apparent.