A semi rolls after hitting soft shoulder.

Driving into the sun and navigating unfamiliar roads are potentially hazardous situations we all face. Safe drivers try to recognize these in advance by properly preparing and allowing extra time to safely maneuver. When overlooked, these conditions can turn hazardous quickly.

Please take a moment to review the real-life case we’ve outlined below. It may save you and your company from costly accidents, lawsuits and violations.

A case study of a driver and a soft shoulder accident

A feed truck driver was delivering the first load of the morning. The truck had been parked downwind of the loader the night before, leaving a considerable amount of dust on the windshield. The driver was unfamiliar with the road, which was too narrow to accommodate oncoming vehicles and had a soft shoulder.

While driving directly into the bright glare of the early morning sun, the driver entered a turn and dropped a wheel into the soft shoulder causing the truck to rollover into the ditch. The driver, who has no recollection of the accident, sustained multiple fractures to his spine, ribs and scapula when he was thrown from the truck.

Risk management recommendations

  • Keep windshields clean, inside and out. Park trucks into the wind, to reduce dust accumulation on windshields. Inspect wipers and washer reservoir during pre-trip inspections.
  • Drive familiar routes. Unfamiliar routes can more easily result in accidents. If you must drive an unfamiliar route or a rough, narrow road, use extra caution and slow down to give yourself more time to respond to obstacles.
  • Watch your wheels. Always use tag axles with full loads.
  • Always wear your seat belt. It could save your life.
  • Utilize sun visors. Ensure all trucks have working sun visors to block out the sun.
  • Invest in polarized sunglasses. They can help reduce glare.
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