Although it does happen less often, service vehicles can get into accidents too. Sometimes it’s a complete accident, and sometimes it isn’t. For example, in Iowa, a garbage truck driver was charged with an OWI after a hit and run accident.
Negligence behind the wheel isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Additional driver behaviors that can contribute to a garbage truck getting into a crash include:
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
Getting into an accident can be dangerous for the driver of the garbage truck, but it can be especially dangers for others on the road, whether it’s the fault of the truck driver or not. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to share the road with these large vehicles.
Keep Your Distance
It’s a good idea to follow the two-second rule when you’re driving on the road. That means keeping at least two seconds between you and the person in front of you. If you’re dealing with a garbage truck, it’s a good idea to double that.
Although they aren’t fast moving, garbage trucks do make frequent stops. Because they use the back end of their truck, you want to make sure they have plenty of room to do their job, in addition to keeping your distance so you don’t accidentally rear end the truck.
Keeping your distance can also keep your car from getting hit by debris. It isn’t unheard of for pieces of garbage to accidentally fly from the back of the truck. Objects can damage your vehicle, but loose garbage can surprise you, causing you to swerve and get into an accident.
Anticipate Wide Turns
The bigger the vehicle, the wider the turns it’s going to make. It’s a good idea to be aware that a large garbage truck may need a little extra space when turning.
Stay a little further back from stop signs and stop lights if there’s an oncoming, turning truck. That way they have plenty of room to make the turn without causing any damage or holding up traffic while they wait for you to go or back up.
Stay Out of Blind Spots
All vehicles have blind spots. The blind spots on a garbage truck have the potential to be deadly. In Singapore, a pedestrian appeared in a garbage truck’s blind spot for just a little over one second, but it was enough for the driver to hit and kill him.
Keeping enough distance between you and the garbage truck will keep you out of their blind spot when driving behind, but make sure you don’t drive right next to the truck either if you’re on a two-lane road. If you’re passing, do it safely.
Know-How to Pass Safely
Knowing how to pass a garbage truck safely is important, as it can keep you from getting in an accident. There are a lot of rules when it comes to passing other vehicles on the road, but there are a few more rules you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re passing a garbage truck.
Wait until the truck comes to a complete stop before passing if you’re driving on a residential street. You don’t want to cause problems for oncoming traffic because you’re trying to pass a garbage truck while it’s in motion.
It’s a good idea to get a feel for how long each stop is by letting them complete one or two before passing. That way you know how much time you have to get around the truck before it drives ahead again. If there is a lot of oncoming traffic, if the truck isn’t making any stops, or if their stops are completed quickly, you may have to drive behind it.
It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re stuck behind a garbage truck, but it’s important to be patient. Don’t whip around the truck because you got tired of following it, or start tailgating the truck wishing it would go faster. These behaviors only increase your chances of getting into an accident.
Realize that the person behind the wheel of the garbage truck is just trying to do their job. Slow down and give them plenty of space. If you’re in a hurry, consider turning onto a side street and taking another route to your destination rather than passing the truck.
Service vehicles, like garbage trucks, get into accidents too. Don’t be the reason why your neighborhood garbage man crashes his truck! Follow these tips and you can share the road safely.