Lessons Learned: Darby Douglas discusses an accident & how it could’ve been avoided

Posted: May 27, 2022

At Montgomery Transport, we have some of the most professional and safest truck drivers on the road. Every day, they face circumstances that range from minor inconveniences to major accidents. Accidents happen. It’s inevitable, but we take extreme measures to make sure they don’t occur again, preventable or not. We always take time to go over what happened and what could’ve been done differently to operate more safely.

Recently, a driver was in a metro area in the evening driving in bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic when another vehicle made contact with his truck.

“Out of nowhere, the other vehicle cut across a merging lane into my lane of travel. I never saw the other vehicle at any point, until after contact was made with me,” he said. “I was paying attention to the vehicle in the front of me because I thought lanes of traffic to my right and left were stopped. While moving the vehicle forward, I felt a bump. I never saw the other vehicle until I leaned forward and looked over my hood.”

This is not an unusual circumstance for any driver to experience but it’s definitely one to avoid.  To determine if everything was done that could be, the driver takes a look at The Smith 5 Keys® of Accident Preventability.

Key 1- Aim High in Steering. “I do believe that I was aiming high in steering, by looking in front of me at the traffic to the front of my vehicle.”

Key 2 - Get the Big Picture. “No, I don’t think that I was following Key 2 because I was concentrating more on the tunnel of traffic in front of me instead of having a 360-degree viewpoint.”

Key 3 - Keep your Eyes Moving. “No, I was not fully engaged in following Key 3. I was not fixating on any one object, but I was not paying attention to what I needed to be paying attention to, which also goes back to Key 2.”

Key 4 - Leave yourself an out. “The only out that I can consider in this accident, would be to increase my following distance. I could have had more following distance and could have seen the other vehicle and possibly prevented the collision.”

Key 5 - Make sure they see you. “I believe that I was following Key 5. I had all lights on and was even running my warning flashers.”

By working through The Smith 5 Keys® of Accident Preventability, the driver determined the accident could have been avoided. “Yes, by seeing the ‘big picture’ and increasing my following distance, I feel that I could have prevented this accident,” he said.

After the post-accident review with safety, the driver said his perspective of the accident changed. “I realized after viewing the Drive Cam event and going through the 5 Keys with safety that I had not been paying attention to my surroundings the way that I should have been. Because of this accident and review I have changed some of my driving habits: I try to stay in the lane of least resistance (the lane with least potential for merging traffic). I also try to increase my following distance and stay more aware of the unexpected.”

This experience has given the driver a more comprehensive perspective on driving in traffic, prompting him to offer advice to his fellow professional drivers: “Slow down. Don’t get in such a hurry that you put yourself or the motoring public in jeopardy. Allowing a little more space between you and the other vehicles in heavy traffic is not going to cost you near as much time as waiting on an accident report to be made.”

We appreciate the driver for sharing this experience with everyone and helping us all drive a little safer out there.

If you’re interested in driving for a company that takes your safety seriously, connect with us at Montgomery Transport!


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