To Swerve Or Not To Swerve… That Is The Question

Overton County, Tennessee – It’s one of the most difficult decisions a truck driver has to make. Swerve to miss a reckless driver and risk a potentially deadly outcome for yourself or stay the course and hope for the best for the driver in the 4-wheeler?

Many drivers are faced with this decision every day. We were reminded of it again this week when, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, a truck driver was faced with this exact choice.

Collin Randolph, 23, of Danville, KY, was driving a 2012 Honda Odyssey south on State Route 111 as Christopher Ellis, 36, of Beaver Creek, OH, was northbound in a Freightliner semi. As Randolph negotiated a curve at too high a rate of speed, he lost control of his vehicle and crossed onto the wrong side of the roadway.


Ellis had to make the difficult decision. He chose to swerve. As he did so, the semi was then struck by the Honda overturning the rig after striking the guardrail. The Honda came to rest on the southbound shoulder.

Fortunately for both men they survived having sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Randolph was charged with DUI, reckless driving, criminal impersonation and two drug charges following the accident.

“Truckers Do What They Have To Do”

However, the outcome for some truckers is not so favorable. The most watched news video we’ve ever produced was back in January of last year when we told the story of milk truck driver, 70-year-old Butch Clark. He was driving along I-295 in Freeport, Maine, when he had to make this dreaded choice.

A 4-wheeler driven by 27-year-old Ashley Williams was out of control and headed straight for him. He could have stayed the course and almost certainly killed the young lady or swerve and let fate decide. He chose to swerve into the median and fate decided.

The long-time trucker died at the scene while Williams walked away with only minor injuries. Clark’s daughter Karen famously told reporters after the crash, “Truckers do what they have to do” to save people’s lives even if it is not their own.


Life And Death Decisions Are In Your Hands

Another one of the most watched videos and reports we’ve ever filed here at Transportation Nation Network was back in September of this year when a trucker was cut off by a 4-wheeler along an overpass on I-60 in South El Monte California.

A witness to the fatal crash says the BMW made a hasty maneuver and pulled in front of the big rig and ‘blared his horn.’ The big rig driver chose to swerve to avoid the car, but was unable to avoid the collision. The two vehicles then plunged off of the overpass onto the roadway below. Both vehicles immediately erupted into flames and both drivers died at the scene and burned beyond recognition, according to California Highway Patrol.


A Tampa, Florida, motorist lost his life after a truck driver swerved to avoid an SUV along an overpass above I-75 then plunged off of the overpass and onto the motorist below.


Another recent case which presented a trucker with this choice was back in October in Tampa, Florida. A truck driver was operating along an overpass above I-75 when he was confronted by a 40-year-old woman driving an SUV who lost control of her vehicle and swerved into the truck’s path.

The truck driver chose to swerve in an attempt to avoid her and plunged off of the overpass onto the interstate below. The rig landed on a passing vehicle crushing and killing 31-year-old motorist Daniel Lee Allmond in what was a horrifying and fiery scene.

The truck driver amazingly made it out of the accident alive, but it is a reminder that as a truck driver, you are often put in positions where lives are in your hands. It’s an incredible responsibility and one we here at Transportation Nation Network believe is not discussed enough.

Tell Us What You Think!

We’d like to know what you think. Share a comment with us about your thoughts on this issue in the comments section or our members only “Hey Truckers” message board. As always, feel free to sound of on our Facebook page as well. We may use your comment in an upcoming article!

Image courtesy of Colonial Park Fire Dept.



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