A website called 11foot8 videos chronicles "the good, the bad and the ugly" of low clearance truck accidents at a single Durham NC trestle bridge. While one might think this is the purview of inexperienced drivers and rental trucks, the videos don't lie: professionals have had their share of accidents, too.
When professionals make a mistake, the results can turn deadly. In September, four people were killed when a bus crashed into a railroad bridge in Syracuse after deviating from the normal route. And even non-fatal incidents wreak havoc in terms of injuries, property losses, hazards to pedestrians and other drivers, and costly traffic tie ups. Here are photos of four serious nonfatal truck and bridge collisions
Prevention might seem obvious to some, but approximately 5,000 bridge-truck collisions per year say otherwise. Here are some pointers we gleaned from the pros:
- Plan route in advance and stay on route
- Check atlas and or gps systems in advance
- Keep atlases and gps systems up to date
- Check with any state or major city DOTs (examples: NYC; TX); they often provide good information about the local area
- Be religious about watching for and heeding signage
- If on an unfamiliar route, check with other drivers about hazards
- Talk to shippers and receivers on your route about nearby low clearance
- When in doubt, don't risk it
America's Independent Truckers Association (AITA) offers an online database of low clearance bridges with heights broken down by state.
For situations that might require escorts, AITA maintains a truck escort referral listing
This trucker forum discusses low clearance solutions.