As a truck driver, you’re under a lot of pressure to meet your deadlines, keep to the schedule, and get your cargo where it needs to be fast. There could be a lot of temptation to speed. Pushing the speed limit might seem like a great idea when you’re running behind schedule, but there are many consequences and dangers associated with speeding.
We’ll explain why it’s not a good idea to speed and give you some tips to prevent speeding-related accidents.
The dangers of speeding
Going too fast for road or weather conditions or exceeding the speed limit increases the risk of having an accident. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that speeding is involved in about one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities.
There are a few reasons for this sobering statistic:
- You can’t process and respond to a hazard fast enough to avoid it if you’re speeding
- It takes longer to stop a vehicle the faster it’s going
- The damage of a speed-related crash could be greater because of the extra energy and force
- You can’t react to a hazard fast enough
- It takes ¾ of a second from recognizing the hazard to put your foot on the brake – at 55 mph, you can travel almost 61 feet in that time
- You don’t have as much control over your truck
The consequences of speeding
Well, first of all, speeding tickets aren’t cheap. Paying a ticket and facing other legal consequences of speeding are probably not things you want to do.
Also, speeding can hurt your truck insurance rates. Insurance companies don’t like risk, and if you or one of your drivers has tickets on your record, that makes you more of a risk to insure. The chances you’ll be in an accident increase. So, therefore, the insurance company will probably charge you more for your coverage. (And if you are involved in a speeding-related accident, that can also cause your rates to be high.)
And since paying a lot of money for your insurance is no fun at all, refraining from speeding is probably a good idea.
Tips to avoid speeding-related accidents:
1. Slow down if the weather is bad.
If there are poor weather conditions, such as rain, snow, fog, or mist, you should probably slow down because your visibility is reduced. Plus, the roads are usually extra slippery in the first half-hour of rain because the water mixes with the oil on the road.
2. Be careful on turns and curves.
According to the FMCSA, 40% of speeding-related fatalities happen on curves. Your momentum wants to pull your truck in the direction it was originally traveling, so it could pull your truck right off the road if you’re speeding. It’s important to slow down ahead of the bend and take it at a safe speed – this will help you prevent a truck rollover, too.
Any try not to slam on your brakes while going around a curve. That could cause your brakes to lock or your truck to skid.
3. Slow down at exit ramps.
Just like curves and turns, you need to slow down for exit ramps. Remember, the posted speed limits are intended for passenger cars. Trucks are bigger and heavier than your average car, so they need to slow down a bit more at curves and exit ramps so they can maintain control. (20-30% of all large truck crashes happen on or near exit ramps.)
4. Take extra care if you have a loaded trailer.
If your trailer is full, you have a higher center of gravity, which means you have a higher chance of having a rollover. The load could shift and unbalance your truck. And trucks pulling loaded trailers need more space to stop since they’re heavier. So, it’s especially important not to speed when you’re pulling a trailer.
5. Be cautious at work zones.
There could be slowdowns in work zones due to traffic and lane closures. Not to mention that there are probably workers in the area, so you have to be extra careful. The speed limit may be reduced if there’s construction, so be sure to pay attention to any signs and respect the adjusted speed limit.
So, though there’s a lot of pressure associated with meeting your deadlines and sticking to your schedule, it’s important that you obey the speed limit and drive at an appropriate speed for conditions. Driving safely is essential to avoiding accidents and saving money on your truck insurance rates.
Speaking of saving money on your truck insurance, we would be happy to help you do just that. We can shop for the best coverage at the best rates. To get truck insruance quotes, you just have to fill out our quote form or give us a call today.
Gratzianna, Patrick. “Speed.” Tow Times, Jan. 2018, p. 38.