Opinion

Before you say ‘it wasn’t my fault’

I would love a dollar for every time we hear these old excuses: ‘I told them the brakes were dodgy’ or ‘they tried to beat me and cut in front of me when their lane was ending’ or ‘they tried to bag me up on the inside on a roundabout’.

These are just three of the very common excuses that we hear when preparing a claim for our clients after an accident. The sad fact is that these excuses are almost always used for accidents that are mostly preventable.

Professional drivers could probably stop reading any further as they would most likely already know how to prevent the sorts of accidents where these types of excuses are given.

Excuse 1: Dodgy brakes

If a driver uses this as the reason for an accident, it may suggest the failure of management to ensure all the company’s vehicles are in a roadworthy condition. However if an accident has resulted from poor (or lack of) maintenance after the maintenance issue has been reported by the driver, then the driver should also take responsibility, simply because they have knowingly driven the vehicle in an unsafe, un-roadworthy condition. Of course maintenance is always the responsibility of management, however the accident would not have occurred if the driver had not driven the vehicle before the brakes had been brought up to a roadworthy standard. 

Excuse 2: They cut in front of me as their lane ended

This is a very common accident, which seems to be a favourite on the dashcam social media sites. Two things come to mind with this scenario. Firstly, the lack of knowledge of road rules. And, as a professional driver it is your (the driver) responsibility to know the road rules for each state or territory that you drive in. There are basically two types of lane merging rules. 

The first one is the commonly known ‘give way’. If you’re travelling in the lane that is ending and there are lane markings that continue to the end of the lane, then the vehicle in the lane that is ending must give way when merging into the line of traffic.

The second one is known as a ‘zipper merge’. If there are no lane markings at the end of the merging lane, then it is whichever vehicle is in front, as the lane that is ending has the right of way. A ridiculous road rule, and as a professional driver there is only one way to deal with it, and that is to practice some patience and allow room for the nongs whom are always going to try it on to get in front of your truck at all costs.

Excuse 3: They tried to bag me up at the roundabout

The roundabout may be good for traffic flow but it’s also a very confusing obstacle for many a motorist. The most common form of incident involving trucks on roundabouts seems to be a small vehicle trying to squeeze between a truck and trailer and the roundabout on the inside. We always hear from the truck driver that ‘it’s not my fault, they should not be trying to overtake on a roundabout!’ True that, but that would require the use of common sense and as we all know, common sense is something a lot of car drivers do not possess.

The best practice to prevent this from happening is to take control of the lanes when approaching a roundabout, i.e.; straddle the lanes to prevent any smaller vehicles from passing you. If you have not taken control of the lanes before the roundabout, then you would have allowed a small vehicle an opportunity to try and pass you on the roundabout. Given this, could you still say it’s not your fault?

Many accidents are preventable if we practice some road craft, common-sense and patience; coupled with good knowledge of each state’s road rules. Next time, before you say ‘it wasn’t my fault’, ask yourself if you’ve applied all of the above.

Important: All answers and information contained within this article should be considered as General Advice Only. This advice should only be considered as General in Nature and its intent is only to prompt the readers to investigate their own individual insurances. It has been prepared without taking into account the readers own individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, before acting on the above advice, the client or any persons should consider its appropriateness (having regard to their objectives, needs and financial situation) and seek further independent advice from their own financial advisor.

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