All drivers are required to maintain a proper lookout when driving. It is the duty to maintain full attention on one’s driving, constantly monitoring road conditions, and watching for surrounding vehicles, pedestrians, and others on the road. This enables a driver to respond quickly when needed—including a traffic light turning red, debris in the road, or a person making a sudden lane change—to avoid an accident. The result can be catastrophic if a trucker fails to fulfill this duty.
How Failure to Maintain a Proper Lookout Can Lead to a Truck Crash
Truck drivers have a greater duty than drivers of passenger vehicles to maintain a proper lookout. This is due to the massive size and weight of a truck and the fact that it can take longer to brake, slow down, or otherwise maneuver a truck. Staying alert can be very challenging for a truck driver who often drives for eight hours or longer without a break.
Many unsafe driving practices cause a trucker not to maintain a proper lookout. These include:
- Distracted driving. A truck driver who is texting, talking on a cell phone, eating or drinking, or looking at his GPS, does not have his mind and eyes on the road—essential prerequisites to maintaining a proper lookout.
- Inadequate surveillance of surroundings. Truck drivers need to be extra vigilant of driving conditions due to large blind spots and the increased time needed to slow or stop. Safe driving includes checking mirrors frequently, checking left, right, and left again when approaching an intersection, and maintaining a lookout approximately 12 to 15 seconds ahead. These requirements are often not followed and lead to improper lane changes, failure to yield, and other types of truck collisions.
- Inadequate evasive actions. Truckers must be able to take evasive actions quickly, such as slowing down suddenly, steering to avoid an obstacle, or reacting to other problems on the road, but this is impossible when they are not maintaining a proper lookout.
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