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As someone who has to be on the roads around truck drivers, you want to do all you can to avoid a crash with them. Large trucks are so much bigger than your smaller vehicle that it just makes sense to take steps to avoid crashes.

One thing you should be able to identify is a driver who is distracted. If a semitruck driver is distracted on the road, then your life, as well as theirs, is at risk. If you can identify a vehicle being driven by someone who appears distracted, then you can make decisions to help protect yourself.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration bans texting

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration bans texting and hand-held phone use when truck drivers are behind the wheel. If a driver is caught while doing those things, then they could lose their commercial license, be put out of service or be fined heavily.

Why? It’s been shown that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event, which could be a crash or near-miss. Just dialing a mobile phone could make a driver six times more likely to be in a safety-critical event, too.

How can you recognize a distracted truck driver?

Distracted drivers of all kinds have a few telltale signs. To start with, the driver may regularly weave in and out of the lane or within their lane. They may drift from one side to the other. Sometimes, they might hit rumble strips. If you notice this behavior, back away from the vehicle or speed up to get around it. Put a distance between it and your vehicle, so you can avoid a crash.

You may also notice a driver who is looking down. If you see them using a phone or texting, back away and give yourself space. You can call the police or the person’s employer to report the behavior.

Finally, if you notice a vehicle that is traveling under the speed limit or that speeds up and slows down oddly, the driver may be distracted or unwell. This is a time when calling for support from the police is a good idea.

Recognizing a distracted driver is the first step in protecting yourself. If you notice a distracted driver, you can report them and help get them safely off the road.