Road Today - - Guest Column -

So­cial me­dia con­nects us, it keeps us up to date, and makes us feel in­volved with fam­ily and friends. It helps us mar­ket our busi­nesses and cre­ates a plat­form for free speech. So­cial me­dia is ev­ery­where. We can all agree that so­cial me­dia is part of our lives and prob­a­bly here to stay. We can also agree that any­thing put on the web is out there for all to see, even if the post is re­moved af­ter­wards. Once it’s shared, it’s shared!

Win­ter is no­to­ri­ous for ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents and many are out of con­trol of the peo­ple in­volved. Many lose their lives and that of loved ones in these fiery crashes. The news is full of peo­ple get­ting stuck in snow storms, in­volved in pile ups and much more. Of­ten these in­ci­dents re­quire pro­fes­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­ter­mine the out­come and find the cause of the ac­ci­dent. This is the prob­lem, PRO­FES­SIONAL IN­VES­TI­GA­TION IS RE­QUIRED! Much of what is on so­cial me­dia is not pro­fes­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it’s opin­ion.

Re­cently there was a story shared on a pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia plat­form. A truck had rolled over in the ditch, block­ing the road, and mo­torists were stuck for hours. The story had been shared on my plat­form stream by some­one not even in­volved in the trucking in­dus­try, they were friends from out­side of trucking. I rec­og­nized the com­pany that had been in­volved and in a fu­ture meet­ing a month later asked my con­tact if the driver was okay? He told me the driver was fine and had done ev­ery­thing in his power to avoid dam­ag­ing other ve­hi­cles. The first ques­tion that came to mind was. ‘ How fast was the driver go­ing to roll the truck in the ditch?” My con­tact then be­gan to share with me what re­ally hap­pened.

My friend said that the driver was barely mov­ing. He had started stop­ping for a stop sign ahead and found his ve­hi­cle on black ice. He was able to gear down and come al­most to a stop, how­ever his rig be­gan to slide on its own on the road­way. In or­der to avoid go­ing into the in­ter­sec­tion he tried to steer the truck to­wards the shoul­der. Do­ing so, the truck be­gan to slide into the ditch and even­tu­ally rolled over. The driver was do­ing less than five miles per hour when slid­ing on the road. So how did we get the wrong mes­sage on so­cial me­dia?

Another driver thought it was im­por­tant to share that pic­ture on so­cial me­dia. All he shared was the pic­ture, but the post went vi­ral. This is sad be­cause the com­pany name was in full view in the shot and clear in the pic­tures. Even those of us that know the ex­per­tise of driv­ers can let our minds think some­thing dif­fer­ent when view­ing so­cial me­dia.

The same thing can be said for those that get up­set at a ship­per or re­ceiver and then post com­ments on so­cial me­dia. To­day many young peo­ple feel that post­ing on so­cial me­dia is the same as telling a friend about a sit­u­a­tion while stand­ing in line at a cof­fee shop. The prob­lem is that other peo­ple can also see that post and many times your cus­tomers may be fol­low­ing the com­pany on so­cial me­dia. You may be jeop­ar­diz­ing your job or your com­pany by post­ing in­for­ma­tion or mes­sages that can be viewed by oth­ers that work with the party in ques­tion. Keep your com­ments off so­cial me­dia and any in­ci­dents shouldn’t be posted on so­cial me­dia un­til they have been fully in­ves­ti­gated and ex­plained. You may be end­ing your ca­reer early due to wrong in­for­ma­tion.

Bruce Outridge is trans­porta­tion con­sul­tant with over 30 years ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try. He is the host of The Lead Pedal Pod­cast for driv­ers ( www.the­leadpedalpod­, au­thor of the books Run­ning By The Mile, and Driven to Drive, and is a trainer and con­sul­tant for the in­dus­try. You can learn more about Bruce and his work at www. bruce­

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