Truck “platooning” refers to a driving technique where a group of semis travel closely together in a convoy, with the lead truck controlling the speed and direction and the rest using advanced technology and communications to coordinate their moves.
Shipping companies like truck platooning because it can save on fuel and be more efficient. But, is platooning also inherently more dangerous? Here are some reasons why it might be:
1. There’s poor visibility for both truckers and others
When semis travel so closely together, it can be challenging for the drivers of those trucks in the back to anticipate and react to sudden changes or hazards in the road, such as debris, obstacles or accidents. Other drivers, too, may have a harder time getting around trucks in a platoon, since their blind spots grow exponentially bigger when they’re grouped together.
2. Reduced maneuverability is also a big problem
In a platoon, the following trucks are required to maintain a close distance and match the speed of the lead truck. This reduces the ability of individual truck drivers to make independent maneuvers and take evasive actions when necessary. It may also be harder for drivers in passenger vehicles to notice when a truck in a platoon needs to suddenly shift lanes or brake.
3 The potential for human error is huge
While platooning technology can assist drivers in maintaining a safe distance and coordinating their movements, it is not infallible. Human error can still cause accidents, especially if a lead driver doesn’t communicate well or a following driver lets their attention wander. Mistakes in judgment, distraction, mental fatigue and driver boredom can easily lead to wrecks.
Most of the time, big rigs and passenger vehicles manage to navigate around each other pretty well. When an accident does happen, however, you need to find out what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.