The entire country continues to mourn the horrific loss of life that happened last week when a FedEx freight truck jumped a highway median and slammed into a bus chartered by Humboldt State University. Ten people died in the California crash, and it was a horrible accident — eyewitnesses talked of the FedEx two-trailer truck being on fire shortly before it went over the interstate’s median. Other eyewitnesses spoke of a booming sound, like an explosion, and there were also sad, sad reports of screams coming from that student-filled bus as passengers were trapped inside the bus as it burned.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash. Already, NTSB investigators have revealed that the big rig left no skid marks on the roadway – which means that the FedEx truck driver didn’t slam on the brakes to try and avoid a wreck. The truck driver can’t give anyone answers: both he and the charter bus driver perished in the accident.
Both the bus and the truck had black boxes, similar to those placed in airplanes to provide details regarding crashes. The FedEx truck’s black box was unsalvagable but the charter bus’s black box may give investigators some leads as to why this tragedy happened. It’s also known that right before the crash, the FedEx trailer truck side-swiped a car before it hit the bus, and the driver of that car says that she saw flames shooting out from underneath the FedEx truck as it jumped the median and headed toward her.
These Kind of Semi Tractor Truck Accidents Are Often Deadly
In last week’s California crash, both the drivers died as well as 5 students and 3 adult chaperones and all but one of these victims died at the scene of the accident. For those who represent victims of these kinds of accidents, the only good news here is that there weren’t more fatalities. It’s a blessing that anyone survived this crash, which involved two large vehicles traveling at interstate speeds colliding in opposite directions and with one of them said to have been in flames and crashing without any braking into the other.
Our sincerest condolences to those who have suffered loss in this tragic accident.
And for those in our community, where we have local routes notorious for heavy semi truck traffic – where big two-trailer trucks like that FedEx truck that crashed in California are commonplace – it’s important to be aware of the dangers inherent in driving on roads alongside these huge machines.
Tips to Stay Safe on the Road With Big Rig Semi Trucks
From Road Safe America:
- Many crashes between heavy commercial trucks and passenger cars can be avoided by following these safety tips.
- Be extra alert as you approach a large truck. They behave very differently from cars.
- Avoid blind spots around trucks. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the blind spots around a truck.
- Do not pass a truck on the right while the truck is turning right. Trucks must swing wide to the left to negotiate right turns safely, as the rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels.
- Do not cut in front of any large vehicle, including a truck or a bus. Since they require much more distance to stop in comparison to cars, forcing a large vehicle to stop quickly can result in a fatal accident.
- Use the proper procedure to pass a large truck or bus on the highway. Accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed while passing. Wait until you can see the entire cab in your rear-view mirror before signaling and pulling in front of it.
- Observe a truck’s turn signals before trying to pass it. If the truck appears to be starting a left turn, check which way the driver is signaling before passing the truck on the right.
- Give trucks at least four to six seconds of space in wet conditions and at highway speeds.
- Call authorities if you see unsafe driving.
- Do not cut off a truck in traffic or on the highway to reach your exit or turn.