Welcome to Part II of our series, A Primer On Emergency Maneuvers. In our previous installment we covered the basics regarding what you need to do in a tight situation. Whether it be watching for other vehicles or knowing how to brake properly, you need specifics on what to do in an emergency.
In this installment we are going to dive deeper into something you’ll want to try and avoid, but once or twice may have to engage in: Off-road evasive maneuvers and recovery.
Why You Need to Know
Let’s face it, you’re on the road, and in some emergency situations you may need to leave the road in order to avoid colliding with another vehicle. Do not be fearful of leaving the roadway.
Many automatically assume that the accident or crash will result from them leaving the road, when in fact it’s the other way around. Many reported crashes are a result of fatigued or impaired driving. Remember that evasive maneuvers are often successful and rarely reported.
What You Need to Do
Successful off-road recovery will usually mean you need to leave the roadway immediately. Too often truck drivers react too late. When crashes do happen off-road it’s usually because the driver uses an incorrect technique.
Roadside recovery is generally safe, provided that the roadside is wide enough and firm enough to accommodate the vehicle.
If you need to leave the road to avoid a collision, make sure you brake before turning and reduce your speed as much as possible without losing control. If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep braking until you have reached a safe speed. Otherwise, utilize a controlled stab.
Also make sure to maintain steering control. Do not brake while turning, otherwise you may transition into a skid, unless you have full ABS. With full ABS you can brake and turn at the same time.
As you are entering the maneuver do your best to minimize turning. Always strive to keep all the wheels on the pavement. Maintain as straight a course line as possible, because each turn creates the danger of a skid.
If the roadside clears up, avoid the urge to try and return to the roadway. Instead, grasp your steering wheel firmly and do everything you can to stay focused and in control of the vehicle. Stay on the roadside until your vehicle comes to a complete stop.
If you find the roadside is blocked by a parked vehicle or sign, you may need to return to the roadway. If this happens, allow your vehicle as much time as possible before returning to the road.
Once you make the decision to return to the roadway, do so in a swift turn, rather than a gradual turn. This will allow you to determine the point of return to the road and opens the door to counter-steering. A gradual return to the roadway raises the risk of losing control.
Once you have returned to the roadway, engage in a counter-steer. As soon as the steering axle rides up onto the surface of the roadway, turn quickly into the direction of it. When you turn back into the roadway your turning and counter-steering should be executed in one maneuver.
In situations where your truck is too close to the roadway and drops a set of wheels, avoid immediately returning to the roadway. You only want to execute extreme maneuvers when you are avoiding vehicles or roadside objects.
You can easily maintain control of your rig with only one side on the pavement. If you veer too quickly you may overturn or end up off the roadway.