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TAILGATING TWICE AS DANGEROUS THIS TIME OF YEAR

Two commercial vehicles sustained heavy damage and caused significant damage to a lawn, several mailboxes and posts in Portage Township after an accident on Ohio State Route 613, the Fostoria Review Times reported on December 14, 2011. A 1988 WHTH tractor pulling a trailer was struck in the passenger side by a 1996 Kenworth truck and trailer loaded with scrap steel while attempting to make a right turn into a private drive.

According to the Times, 41-year-old Joel Gaskin was unable to slow his Kenworth for the WHTH tractor driven by 41-year-old Ryan Evans, striking the passenger side of his truck and causing both vehicles to go off the right side of the roadway. Both drivers were wearing seat belts, although the Times said Evans had to be transported to Blanchard Valley Hospital for possible injuries.

The Emergency Management Agency (EMA) of Hancock County had to be called to the scene due to diesel fuel leaking from one of the tractor trucks, according to the Times. Gaskin was cited for failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead.

The citation reflects aggressive driving on the part of the Kenworth driver, and this truck accident demonstrates the inherent danger involved when a vehicle the size of a semi truck is tailgating another vehicle. Since this particular accident involved two tractor-trailers, the Times reported that the clean-up required not only the Hancock EMA, but the Ohio State Highway Patrol commercial carrier enforcement, the McComb Fire Department, McComb PMP Joint Ambulance, Ed’s Towing and Reinhart’s Towing.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) notes that the average stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 miles per hour (in ideal conditions) is 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for a passenger vehicle. The FMCSA recommends you leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length if you are driving below 40 mph, although you should leave one additional second for speeds over 40 miles per hour. And considering how the roads are about to be affected by winter weather, the FMCSA recommends doubling your following distance in adverse conditions.

How much following distance do you typically leave when you are behind another vehicle?

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