Property claims

One claims issue that is seldom talked about but can have a huge financial impact is claims from property damage, such as hitting trees, fixed objects, parked vehicles, bridges, and running over lawns, to name a few. One would think that avoiding such claims would be a simple matter, but every day claims departments have to deal with a driver or drivers calling in to report property damage that is completely avoidable. There are instances where property damage has occurred where the driver was totally blameless. I had one in New York City where a building hit me. I was parked, truck shut off, and I was in the building when the canopy fell from the building and hit the truck.

For the most part, property damage claims are easily avoided by paying attention to your surroundings and knowing where the truck and trailer, or trailers, will fit, and where they won’t. One example of a “no-brainer” is the driver who tried taking a 53 ft trailer through a fast-food drive-thru window. That ended badly and cost the driver a lot of money.

Knowing your vehicle’s dimensions and characteristics can help prevent property damage claims. If you know your vehicle is 4.1, roughly 13 ft 6 in, why would you even try to go under a 12 ft bridge, yet at least once a month, someone hits the 12 ft bridge on Highway 1A on the west side of Brandon.

Be extremely careful when turning, as the off-track of the trailer can impact parked cars, curbs, light standards, and other fixed objects, or it can ride over a portion of a finely manicured lawn.

Knowing the weight of your unit is also very important. Some bridges have weight restrictions, so knowing the vehicle’s total weight is crucial. You should be able to convert the vehicle weight from imperial to metric and also to different weight measurements within both imperial and metric. For example, if your truck weighs say 70,000 lbs and the bridge sign says “8,000 lbs maximum weight,” you need to know right away if you’re legal to cross the bridge or not. If you just guess, you may learn a very hard, dangerous, and expensive lesson.

Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.