Are You Paying Attention?
There are two types of drivers on the road, those paying attention, and those who aren’t.
There are folks on the road who aren’t paying attention to anything; not to road conditions, not to other drivers, not even to the road! They are the unfortunate majority. Plenty has been written and spoken about ignorance, distracted driving, and negligence and more definitely should be written! (We’ve even written about it here and here.) But we want to talk about a small camp from the other group: those paying attention.
Really paying attention…
Closely watching you. Waiting for you. Looking for the right opportunity to get introduced to you, and some of you have first -hand experience with this.
No. I am not talking about a highway patrolman.
I am talking about the real low-life people out there who are scamming truckers. Watching for the right time to initiate a crash with you and then agree on a settlement or meet you in court.
These situations have been going on for years and now, another group has come to light a few days ago from Louisiana. (Read the official story here). This case is a little different as not only were the drivers and passengers involved, but an attorney has also been implicated. The indictment against him in this latest scheme was providing the criminals the information on how to stage the accidents. Their goal was to give the appearance of the trucker being at fault and then moving forward with legal actions. Talk about chasing ambulances!
While this certainly is a peculiar tale, it is unfortunately becoming more and more common. Brake check and insurance scam videos on Youtube are bringing in MILLIONS of views, (Dashcam Lessons & Dashcam Lunatics are two big channels devoted to these videos.) It might be slightly comical watching “Instant Karma” unfold, unfortunately it is often dangerous, always selfish, and sometimes disastrous for the trucker/motor carrier or innocent victims. Those are the cases that are seen thanks to a dash cam or phone camera. The ones you don’t see weren’t as well prepared for someone else’s greed. So, the real question is how can you protect yourself and your assets?
What can you do?
What should you do?
- PAY ATTENTION – Conduct a thorough pre-trip and load check of your vehicle(s) before you get on the road. Everytime. (You want everything in your favor if something should happen).
- STAY VIGILANT – Do another load check after each stop, just to make sure all is well.
- LOOK OUT – Watch for suspicious activity at rest areas and truck stops. Criminals have been known to scout potential targets at these areas as they allow time for better scrutiny.
- GIVE ROOM – Watch your spacing when driving. If the car in front of you slams on their brakes, you need to be able stop safely. Always keep a 360 degree bubble as best you can, always leave yourself a way out.
- USE CARE – Don’t use another driver’s hand gestures as the OK to merge/turn/go ahead—let them go first and clear the intersection.
- WATCH YOUR SURROUNDINGS – Be very alert when turning from a road into a parking lot, driveway, etc. Criminals sometimes will have pedestrians ready to cross your path to make the truck stop in the middle of the road. The criminal uses this distraction to crash into the truck on your dime.
- DEFEND YOURSELF – Have a dash cam? USE IT! Have a rear cam? EVEN BETTER! Using a cab cam? GREAT!
- BE PREPARED – If you are involved in a crash- do not admit to anything. If possible take pictures and videos of the vehicles, license plates, and people around you. Get contact info from other witnesses.
- EXERCISE GOOD JUDGEMENT – Be aware of anyone on scene who tries to direct you to a specific doctor or lawyer. Take the time to make a wise, thorough decision.
While these actions may not keep you out of a courtroom, they could keep you in business and on the road. In summary, don’t be distracted, watch your spacing and pay attention. Others may be paying attention too…