Truckers should be wary when traveling I-75 in Ohio through Warren and Butler Counties, where a huge highway construction project has led to a dramatic increase in big rig accidents, according to the Oxford Press.
Narrowing lanes due to a construction project to widen the highway and the resulting heavy traffic make for a dangerous drive for truckers attempting to navigate the highway between Ohio 129 near Liberty Twp. through Dayton.
In the past three years since the road construction began, commercial vehicles were involved in 708 crashes along the route, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. In the three years prior to construction, there were 474 accidents involving commercial trucks. Commercial trucks constitute slightly more than 20% of the traffic on I-75 daily, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Truckers told the Oxford press that a factor in the accidents is that the highway lanes have narrowed from the standard 12 ft. across to 10-11 ft. along the Butler and Warren construction zones. And some stretches have patches of road where lanes don’t follow the normal path, make unexpected sharp turns and veer across medians, truck drivers told the newspaper.
“During the rush hours, the roads are really stressful,” Paul Dhinel, an Ontario-based trucker who routinely travels the I-75 route, told the Oxford Press. “It’s really difficult to have to watch your driving and make sure you are looking out for everyone else.”
“The majority of safety concerns for trucks are the same as passenger vehicles,” said Walter Bernau, a safety specialist for ODOT. “Stay within speed limits, allow for space to brake, don’t distract yourself with unnecessary things like phones. The problem is trucks are so much bigger and drivers don’t always understand the added leeway that comes with that size.”
“Cars don’t give trucks enough space,” said Patrick Burr, a trucker who hauls auto parts along the route twice a week, noting drivers of cars often try to cut trucks off at the last second in order to squeeze through a traffic jam.