VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Semi-trucks are notorious for being jack-knife or slide-off victims in the winter. As it turns out, the everyday driver could play a part.
Take it from Fred Stanley, he has more than 45 years of experience behind the wheel of a big rig.
Stanley recalls, "The last 15 to 20 years traffic has tripled out here. Things have changed and you've got a lot that's been added with it, accidents and things."
Unfortunately, the number of accidents only increase during the winter. Many truck drivers get a bad rep for driving too fast for conditions. Stanley says thankfully, he hasn't been in any accidents, but he's always cautious on the road.
Stanley says, "You try to do your best and get it there but there's no need of taking a chance hurting somebody or even yourself having an accident just for a load of freight."
Stanley says there's a lot the everyday motorist can do to help themselves, and semi-truck drivers be safer. This includes putting the phone down, and paying attention to what’s up ahead.
He says, "A lot of people when they're broke down and everything, are on the side of the road. I’ve seen it. I've been along the shoulder and people, you'll even see traffic coming and people still won't get over. They've got the room to get over but I’ve seen it day after day. It’s dangerous. Someone could take a car door off, or if a child was in front of the car and darts into the road. It’s just dangerous so people need to get over."
Stanley says don’t forget to give semis extra breathing room in the winter too.
He says, "Try to keep your distance, and then if you are in the process of passing one, try to get on around them and get back in rather than lay out there run side by side with them."
He adds it’s especially important in the winter to make sure you're seen.
Stanley says, "If you're actually probably within 15 to 20 feet behind a truck and if you're pretty much centered with him, he don't even know you're back there."
But while making a semi driver aware of your presence, don't make "this" distracting mistake.
He says, "Late at night a lot of times, I’ve even had big trucks come up behind me with the bright lights on, and that gets pretty aggravating, and a lot of times you get the cars with their lights on, and not thinking to turn them off. I don't know if it's just not caring or what, but it glares in your mirrors and just kind of interferes with your driving."
By making these small adjustments, anyone behind the wheel can make travel safer for everyone.