What semi-truck drivers wish they could say to Seattle drivers

EVERETT, Wash. – Semi truck drivers share their concerns over getting cut off, tailgated and having to stop short in and around Puget Sound after a deadly week on Washington roadways. Nine people were injured or killed since last Thursday in accidents involving semi-trucks – all but one of those in the Puget Sound area.

“Our job is to maintain our lane, that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to run you over,” said Mark Allenbach, a trucker with more than 19 years’ experience. Allenbach wasn’t trying to funny or mean with his comments, he said, just honest.

“There’s no question who is going to win,” he said, if a Prius gets into an accident with his 80,000 pound truck. “I have seen safety films where a truck just run over a little car like that, and when it was all over, the truck left and the car was towed away.”

On Mother’s Day, one person in a van was seriously hurt in a crash with a semi on SR 18. The road was closed between Interstate 90 and Issaquah-Hobart Road for several hours. The cause is under investigation.

On Monday, a 27-year-old man was killed in Lakewood after his car broke down in the middle of Interstate 5 and a semi-truck slammed into the back of it early Monday morning, according to Washington State Patrol. Troopers say the car was wedged under the semi-truck. State troopers closed several lanes of southbound I-5 near Gravelly Lake Drive SW. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

“We can’t stop,” said Allenbach plainly.

At 65 mph, Allenbach said, it will take 600 feet for his Mack truck to come to a stop; the length of the Space Needle laying down on I-5.

“If you’re in our blind spot, then we can’t see you,” said Allenbach. If you can’t see the truck driver in his side mirror, then that means “we can’t see you,” he said.

Allenbach also warns drivers about tailgating, especially as the temps heat up.

“The tractors, they use new tires, but most of the trailers, they use retreads. So especially when it starts getting hot in the summer, you’ll start seeing a lot of tread coming off,” he said. “When a tire blows it’s going to come through your windshield.”