Skip to Content (custom)

    Beware of the Fixed Stare

    driver blankly staring out windshield

    Recently, I reviewed video of several hundred vehicle collisions. While there were many expected findings, such as the severe impacts of distracted and drowsy driving, there were also some surprises. 

    One surprise was a pattern that became evident with several crashes that occurred with tractor-trailer drivers while they were turning. In several instances, the truck driver was fixated on a side mirror, watching closely to be sure the trailer successfully cleared an object or completed the turn. The driver was so focused on looking back at the trailer that he or she forgot about the view ahead and ran straight into a stopped vehicle, a pole, or some other object that was clearly visible… had the driver just been looking.

    The driver was correct in having concern for the clearance of the trailer, but with driving, danger can come from many directions. It is important to continually survey all sides of the vehicle when the vehicle is in motion. And, when moving forward, attention to the front is especially critical. 

    Beware of the fixed stare! When it’s a tight spot and close scrutiny of the trailer is required, be careful not to fixate too long on one view only. A problem may be developing from another direction. It’s important to scan to the front as well as to the sides during these maneuvers. Slow down so there is plenty of time to safely navigate the turn and effectively monitor both the trailer clearance as well as what is ahead. 

    Del Lisk, Vice President of Safety Services, Lytx