This video is an adaptation of a scenario from CCJ’s Preventable or Not manuals. It is presented via a partnership between CCJ and Instructional Technologies.
Truck driver John Doe is headed toward a delivery in downtown Dinosaur, Colorado, and navigating tough mid-day winter conditions.
Doe carefully scans the mostly empty ice-covered road ahead while creeping along at 20 mph and sees a straight truck approaching a stop sign at the upcoming intersection. Doe has the right of way and the box truck clearly seems intent to stop, so Doe trots his rig forward at nearly a snail's pace.
The driver of the box truck, Herbert F. Bushwhacker, applied his brakes to comply with the red octagonal sign but to no avail, and his box truck skidded on the ice into the intersection and into the path of Doe's oncoming rig. Doe gently applied his brakes but suffered a similar fate as none of his 18 wheels bit the pavement, sending his rig into the side of Bushwhacker's Class 6 box.
Was this accident preventable?
According to Doe's fleet safety manager, Doe should have been on even higher alert given the hazardous road conditions and dinged Doe for a preventable accident. Doe appealed to the National Safety Council, citing his low speed compared to the posted limit, adding that he had no way of knowing both he and the box truck would each hit an ice patch. The Council agreed with Doe's boss, saying under the obviously icy conditions Doe should have expected to brake sooner when he saw the truck approach the stop sign, adding he should have recognized that the other truck might not have been able to stop and that Doe, too, might face the same issue.
Truck driver John Doe is headed towards a delivery in hazardous winter driving conditions. He grips the steering wheel and scans the ice-covered city boulevard ahead while creeping along at 20 miles per hour.
The road at midday is nearly empty, but a straight truck is approaching crossways at the next intersection ahead.
John Doe assesses the situation. He knows he has the right-of-way and believes that the other driver is moving at a careful pace. When that driver attempts to obey the stop sign he slides into the middle of the intersection.
Doe still believes he has time to stop and lightly applies his brakes to maintain traction. The slick road surface thwarts this effort and his tractor-trailer slides into the side of the straight truck.
Was this accident preventable or not?
Upon review, the National Safety Council ruled against John Doe. The council acknowledged that it is unreasonable to expect a trucker to slow down at every intersection, but given the icy conditions Doe should have attempted to brake much sooner. He should have anticipated the other trucker’s inability to stop and his own possible problems of coming to a halt.