A Bad U-Turn

Spun out in the medium.

There are some things a tractor-trailer was never designed to do . . . like ditch riding.

A driver waiting in a backup on I-70 captured an impatient driver attempting a U-turn . . . across the medium.

Going through standing water in the ditch.













The first clue this was not a good choice to make was the standing water splashing up in the ditch. Although there is no snow on the ground the soil is moist. Even if there was no ditch and the medium was flat, crossing would be near impossible.

The I-70 traffic was backed up for over an hour or so. Odds are this escapade took much longer than waiting would have to resolve, It involved at least one heavy tow truck, and resulted in a ticket and a possible court date.

Other Bad Consequences

The video was posted on January 31, 2016 and got over 20,000 views. This is not the best way to get your company name known on social media. In risk-management parlance, this is known as reputation damage.

The driver made an error in judgement. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, which could have been the case if he had pulled it off and climbed back on the roadway.  Yet it still looks bad and this error could ultimately result in the driver losing his job.

And yet safety experts would not pin all the blame on the driver Nor would legal experts, if someone had gotten hurt.

Management has a duty an obligation to constantly train drivers. In this instance, there was a medium and ditch separating high-speed lanes of traffic. An expressway, by definition, is a controlled-access highway. A U-turn is clearly illegal because it would be highly dangerous and risky to the freeway traffic.

And yet if the driver had gotten away with it, odds are other impatient drivers would have followed his example.

No other drivers attempted to make an illegal U-turn and they were promptly on their way when the road was cleared.

Other Recent Bad U-Turns

In September 2015 Cameron David Corbitt, age 20, of Homerville, GA was killed when he ran into a tractor-trailer driver made a U-Turn in the fog . . .

In January 2016, Phillip C. Matthews, 40, of Old Flat Creek Road, TN was killed when he struck a tractor-trailer making a U-Turn on U.S. 231 near the Shelbyville airport. The investigation continues.

A Solution

Training can quickly go stale. Safety must become part of an organization’s culture. Culture has been defined as what people do when they think no one is looking.

The only solution, in my opinion, is continuous driver safety indoctrination. For example, UPS supervisors spend a minute on safety at the beginning of the shift,

Drivers, driver supervisors and dispatchers all have to be reading from the same script. All have to work together for a good safety culture to emerge.

Thank you for reading this.