Have you ever been pushed off the highway onto soft shoulders? A driver was approaching Holbrook, NY on I-495 with a load going to Hunts Point. He loaded during the rain that morning and it continued to rain heavy sheets of water through mid-morning. It wasn’t often that this driver would help out with local deliveries, but they were short handed and he thought, "Why not?"
Traffic was terrible. The 4-wheelers were darting in and out of traffic, trying to move up to another spot. Suddenly, to his surprise, the trucks began hitting each other and blocking the interstate.
Our driver went to the inside median, which was the only open route. But the ground was soft from the rain, and his steer axle sunk in the soft mud. The force of the trailer pushed his tractor down and it came over the top.
He was not wearing his seat belt and was thrown to the passenger side of the tractor. As the cab went down in the mud, it was crushed by the trailer. He was trapped in the cab beneath the load.
It took the "jaws of life" nearly two hours to cut him free. He was air lifted to the hospital and, while healthy, will not be returning to work.
There are alternatives for adverse weather conditions:
1. Speed is the first alternative. You can make a lot more adjustments at slower speeds.
2. Following distances must be adjusted when we are in adverse weather. At 55 mph, it takes 250' to stop under normal conditions. The distance doubles when the surface is wet.
3. Develop the "long look" along with your “short look.” With your height above the traffic, practice the "long look," which includes the traffic near and ahead of you.
Bottom line: When it is not your fault, don't be the one who loses.
That's the way I see it.