Summer Safety – Watch Out for Garbage Trucks



With school out for the summer and the days now being a lot longer, it means that the kids will be spending significantly more time outdoors. Longer days means more time to explore and bask in the things that make summertime so wonderful. However, it also means more time for accidents to occur. Sometimes we overlook the dangers of things that are actually sitting right in front of us. Sometimes we neglect to see things for the hazard that they are. Like garbage trucks, for example. Have you ever felt threatened by a garbage truck or worried that the passing truck might actually be dangerous for your kids and even for you?

Well, they are and they can be. Garbage truck accidents occur more often than you might think, and they are a real hazard both for you and your children on foot and when you are in the car. Without a doubt, garbage trucks and garbage men alike provide an essential duty to society as they perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the world; but when those massive trucks attempt to maneuver through narrow residential roads the slightest error or wrong move can prove fatal to pedestrians, cyclists and even motorists.


Garbage Trucks 101

Did you know that garbage trucks are also known as dump trucks, disposal vehicles and/or trash trucks? It’s true, there are many different names that are used to describe these machines and there are also many different designs. Garbage trucks come in a few basic models. The most popular models are: rear loaders, front loaders, side loaders, grapple trucks (for large or bulky waste) and pneumatic collection trucks. Garbage trucks are owned and operated by both private companies and the city they operate in.


The Dangers of Garbage Trucks Are Real

The dangers of garbage trucks are a real threat to pedestrians, cyclist and motorist. The large size of the truck hinders the driver’s ability to maneuver in certain areas. Not only that, but also certain designs make it near impossible for the driver to see around certain areas of the truck. This means that garbage trucks have a much larger blind spot than do average motor vehicles. The impaired visibility along with the unpredictability of the driver’s actions (as garbage trucks tend to stop frequently, back up and go) is a recipe for disaster if you are not aware of your surroundings.


The Most Common Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents  

Arguably the most common cause of garbage truck accidents is distracted drivers, or those drivers who are not aware of their surroundings. Since pedestrians and cyclists often have the right of way, they may sometimes assume that everyone will acknowledge their existence. Sadly though, this is not true and often leads to an accident, should the pedestrian or cyclist assume that others will allow them the right of way.

Failure to follow posted traffic laws is also a common cause of garbage truck accidents. Improper lane changes, reckless driving, failure to signal, following too closely and failure to follow traffic signals all can lead to accidents involving a garbage truck.


What You Can Do

Warning your children about the dangers of garbage trucks could potentially save their lives. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings, not play too close to the street, and always obey traffic laws. Above all, you should respect the men and women who are performing their duties. Do not drive aggressively around them and pay close attention to their sometimes unpredictable actions.

Have fun this summer outdoors, but be safe and watch out for those garbage trucks!

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