Many of the bridges and overpasses in metropolitan areas were built before modern trucks, so it can be dangerous to pass under them without the proper height clearance. Low clearance trucking accidents occur because the tops of trailers are too high to travel safely underneath. Instead, the trailer collides with the overpass, causing significant damage.
These types of accidents might sound rare, but they happen more often than you might suspect. In fact, in Montreal, the southbound Guy St. overpass used to experience as many as 50 height-clearance related collisions a year before the city installed a laser warning system.
As a dispatcher, there are effective ways you can protect your drivers and trucks. To find out what these best practices are, keep reading!
Truck Drivers Shouldn’t Rely On Their GPS Alone
Dispatchers are only human, so it’s understandable that from time to time they might occasionally make mistakes when forming routes. They may be unaware of truck restrictions, or temporary low clearances along certain roads.
Once you become a dispatcher, it’ll be important for you to double-check routes in order to catch any mistakes early. However, diligent dispatchers will also tell drivers to be careful anyways. GPS systems won’t indicate possible low clearances, which means that relying on GPS alone won’t be enough to avoid a potential accident. Instead, drivers should consult a road atlas along with their GPS to avoid any potential mishaps.
In cases of “temporary” low clearances, drivers should also always be on the lookout for signs designating low clearance, truck restrictions, and detours. These signs are always brightly colored to make sure that truck drivers can see them. Dispatchers can make sure their drivers pay attention to signs on the road by checking in with them regularly.
Grads of Dispatch Training Can Advise Drivers to Measure the Height of Their Trailers
Although checking a road atlas and paying attention to low clearance signs are good habits for drivers, grads of dispatch training should make sure drivers measure their trailers as well. Some low clearance accidents can happen because a driver is unaware of the height of their trailer and mistakenly think that they will be fine. For drivers measuring their trailer, it’s important to note that in Canada, the legal height limit for trailers is 4.15m (13’6”).
Monitoring Driver Behaviour Can Help Prevent These Accidents
Graduates of a dispatch course are responsible for recommending the best routes to their drivers. In addition, the connection they build with their drivers is an essential one. The communication and trust they experience with drivers can go a long way, and can help dispatchers encourage safe behaviour.
For example, even when overpasses on larger roads are high enough to allow for trailers to pass safely, drivers should still be advised to drive through slowly. Dispatchers should also remind drivers to be observant of signs and highway traffic laws by warning them whenever they break a rule. Although low clearance accidents can happen from time to time, proper training and communication can help to remind drivers to form good habits and avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
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