Along Highway N in eastern Missouri is the Old Bend Bridge, a bridge that tractor-trailers cannot cross on their way to the interstate. There are signs along the highway telling drivers as much. In fact, there is one rather prominent sign that lets truck drivers know they have reached the point of no return – the point in which turning around and going in the other direction is difficult to do. Yet drivers routinely pass that sign only to find themselves in a world of hurt.
In one recent incident that took place in early June, a truck driver blocked traffic for upwards of 30 minutes after passing the point of no return. He required the help of local drivers and construction workers to stop traffic and get other drivers to move so he could turn his rig around. To say the locals were unhappy is to state the obvious.
Signs Are More Important Than GPS
In one of our previous blog posts, we mentioned paying attention to signage as an often-forgotten safety tip. Indeed, road signs are more important to the truck driver than a GPS device. GPS data is rarely up-to-date, in real time, are not set up for tractor-trailers, and it often does not account for construction projects.
Officials in Missouri erected their signs to steer trucks clear of Old Bend Bridge. The signs are effective at what they do, but only if drivers pay attention to them and heed what they say. So, what’s the problem? Perhaps it is distraction. Maybe it is the pressure some drivers are under to get where they are going as quickly as possible. Whatever the case, drivers who fail to pay attention to road signs are not likely to be deterred by anything else.
A Universal Problem
It is interesting to note that drivers not paying attention to road signage is not unique to the U.S. It’s actually universal problem. Throughout the UK, for example, there are constant stories of trucks actually damaging houses while driving through villages that were never intended to accommodate the large vehicles. The roads are so narrow that trucks can pass within inches of a home.
Roads in Europe are often unable to handle large volumes of truck traffic, especially in their oldest cities built long before anyone could have conceived of tractor-trailers. Officials use all sorts of signage to direct trucks onto modern highways and away from small villages, low overpasses, roundabouts, etc., and yet some drivers are more likely to trust their GPS devices than the signs they read.
Signs Are for Everyone’s Benefit
It goes without saying that truck drivers should just read the signs they see and then drive accordingly. If it helps, they might want to reflect on the fact that signage exists for everyone’s benefit. The signs in eastern Missouri benefit truck drivers by steering them clear of what would otherwise be a very difficult situation. They benefit local residents by keeping the area around Old Bend Bridge clear and with traffic moving freely. They benefit local officials who should not have to constantly worry about traffic jams created by oversized vehicles.
But here’s the thing: signage only benefits everyone involved if those it is intended for actually read and heed. In a phrase, just read and obey the signs. Everyone is a winner when truck drivers do so.
At C.R. England, we are always looking for truck drivers who want to be part of one of the most well-known and reputable trucking companies in the industry. We have open truck jobs for inexperienced drivers, experienced company drivers, driving teams and owner-operators.
Missourian – http://www.emissourian.com/local_news/pacific/truck-drivers-still-not-following-signs/article_241e003d-f1ad-525f-b3e8-b9b5c5e92a0a.html