December 1, 2005
Encountering aggressive drivers has become a regular occurrence. Law enforcement officials define aggressive driving as the operation of a motor vehicle in an unsafe and hostile manner without regard to the safety of other motorists and/or passengers. They say aggressive driving is usually the result of frustration, impatience and irritability.
Aggressive drivers are those who run stops signs and red lights, speed, tailgate, cut other vehicles off, pass on the wrong side or on the shoulder of the road, drive recklessly, weave in and out of traffic without signaling, scream, make offensive gestures and honk at other drivers and so forth.
In extreme cases, these drivers’ aggression turns into road rage, where a driver will deliberately try to harm another. Such altercations on the roadway can result in collisions and personal attacks, which put the safety of your drivers and others in jeopardy.
By being cautious and courteous, a driver can often avoid creating a situation that may provoke another driver, advise law enforcement and safety professionals. They offer these suggestions for helping drivers stay safe when they encounter an aggressive driver:
Stay calm and relaxed, and do not respond in anger.
Avoid eye contact.
Steer clear and try to get out of the vicinity.
Do not challenge or confront an aggressive driver, as this could make matters worse.
Use the horn sparingly.
Ignore inappropriate hand or facial gestures, and do not return them.
Resist any attempts by an aggressive driver to engage you verbally.
If you have a cell phone and can do it safely, report aggressive driving incidents to local law enforcement. Provide them with a vehicle description, license number, location and direction of travel.
Be sure to share these recommendations with your drivers. BI
David Kolman is a veteran truck communicator, keynote speaker and long-haul trucker. Commissioned as an Honorary Colonel on the Kentucky governor’s staff for his work promoting traffic safety, he actively participates in trade associations and reports news and information about the trucking industry for broadcasting and print media.
Predicting truck accidents
Research by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has identified the relationship between specific driving behaviors with the likelihood of a vehicle accident. This early warning system of future crash predictability allows a fleet the opportunity to take the necessary steps to change divers’ safety and driving behavior.
The study, Predicting Truck Crash Involvement: Developing a Commercial Driver Behavior-Based Model and Recommended Countermeasures, finds “reckless driving and improper turn violations as the two violations associated with the highest increase in likelihood of a future crash. The four convictions with the highest likelihood of a future crash are: improper or erratic lane change; failure to yield right of way; improper turn, and failure to maintain proper lane. When a driver receives a conviction for one of these behaviors, the likelihood of a future crash increases between 91 and 100 percent.”
If a driver had Crash likelihood increases
Reckless Driving Violation 325%
Improper Turn Violation 105%
Improper or Erratic Lane Change Conviction 100%
Failure to Yield Right of Way Conviction 97%
Improper Turn Conviction 94%
Failure to Maintain Proper Lane Conviction 91%
Past Crash 87%
Improper Lane Change Violation 78%
Failure to Yield Right of Way Violation 70%
Driving Too Fast for Conditions Conviction 62%
The study analyzed driver-specific performance indicators on 540,750 drivers mined from data that included violations, driver traffic conviction information and past accident involvement information to identify driving behaviors predictive of future crash involvement.
Equipment news roundup
Eaton’s VORAD (Vehicle On-board RADar) Collision Warning System with SmartCruise adaptive cruise control is available as an option for Kenworth’s T600, T800, T2000 and W900 models. The VORAD system provides forward and side object detection and gives audio and visual warnings. SmartCruise automatically reduces truck speed when vehicles are within a predetermined range by reducing fuel to the engine and engaging the engine retarder.
Hino Trucks has teamed with Fontaine Modification to offer a single-axle Class 7 tractor version of Hino’s Model 338 straight truck. The Hino 338 City Tractor is powered by Hino’s 260-hp J-Series engine mated to an Allison 3300 RDS automatic transmission. Available in two wheelbases — 144 and 151 inches — the tractor comes with a Meritor 21,000-pound capacity rear axle with Hendrickson air suspensions, or a 23,000-pound capacity rear axle with spring suspension.
Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies’ new Kegger refrigerated trailer is specifically for delivering draft beer. Its double-drop design between the front and rear provides easy driver access from near street level. Built with seamless fiberglass panels, the trailers are available in lengths from 27 to 36 feet, with split or single doors on each side. There are steel diamond plate floors and racking for empty kegs. The largest Keggers have a payload of up to 100 half-barrel kegs. Diesel or eutectic holdover plate refrigeration are available.
Kenworth achieved the highest ranking in customer satisfaction among Class 8 truck owners in the Pickup and Delivery, Over The Road and Dealer Service Segments of the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Heavy Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study. Customer satisfaction for the three product segments is measured on six factors: quality, exterior, engine, ride/handling/braking, transmission and interior.
Mack Trucks is making Bendix’s ABS-6 Advanced with ESP — an electronic vehicle stability technology that provides a higher level of protection against the possibility of rollovers and jackknifes — available on its highway models. The system works by selectively applying the brakes on individual wheel ends, depending on driving conditions, vehicle speed and other inputs from onboard sensors, to assist the driver in reducing speed, keeping the vehicle in proper alignment and reducing the possibility of a slide or jackknife.