Not every truck accident is preventable, but some can be. Taking safe actions on the road around trucks can dramatically reduce your chances of getting injured in a major truck accident.
Even when truck drivers make mistakes, act recklessly, or have negligent employers, there are truck accident prevention steps you can take to stay farther out of harm’s way. Statistics from the FMCSA show that 81% of injury-causing truck accidents and 74% of all fatal truck accidents start with a “collision with vehicle in transport,” This means the truck made an impact with another vehicle on the road, usually a passenger vehicle, like a car, truck, or SUV.
Many of these truck-car accidents are caused by negligent passenger vehicle operators. Others are made worse by the fact that the vehicle remained in the truck’s path in a risky situation. Knowing when the risks are greatest and how to avoid them can increase the chances of you and your family making it to where you want to be safely and reliably.
If you do get hurt in an accident, know that you can talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer to take up your case. They will investigate the causes of the truck accident and document your injury costs to increase your chances of obtaining a full, fair settlement.
People who want to stay safe on the road around trucks — even reckless ones — can use the following 8 safety tips for truck accident prevention.
Every passenger vehicle has a few blind spots, but trucks tend to have massive ones. You can find these blind spots — where a truck cannot see a vehicle through their windows or mirrors — on all four sides of the truck. The FMCSA and other organizations refer to this area as the “No-Zone”.
Riding 20ft or less in front of a truck and 30ft or less in the rear means they cannot see you at all. Trucks also have blind spots on the sides of their cab: a one-lane one to the left and a massive two-lane to the right.
If you find yourself riding near a truck, limit the amount of time you spend in these spots as much as possible. Overtake quickly when passing. Never “hang out” in an area where the truck can’t see you. Otherwise, they might change lanes or make maneuvers that can quickly make an impact likely.
If you are going to pass by a truck, bus, or large commercial vehicle, do it carefully and quickly. Use your turn signal. Always pass on the left, where they have better visibility. Ideally, you will see the driver’s side mirror on the truck before you change lanes or begin to pass.
When merging in front of the truck, never “cut them off” by merging close to the front of the cab. That puts you in their blind spot. Trucks also need extra room to brake, meaning they could collide with you even when trying to fully stop to avoid you.
Never “tailgate” a truck by riding in their blind spot. Avoid riding beside a truck since they may end up encroaching in your lane on wide turns or sudden curves. If a truck starts to pass, try to slow down to give them room.
Large semi-truck cabs have a much larger turning radius than other vehicles. When they have a trailer attached, that radius gets even bigger.
Trucks turning right will usually need 55 feet total to make their full maneuver. They may need to cross over into other lanes to complete it without putting too much pressure on the trailer joint. Trucks will also take wide, slow left turns to ensure their trailer stays behind them.
Stay out of the way of trucks when they’re turning. Get out of their blind spot if you might be in it. If you think a truck might be about to turn on top of you and doesn’t see you, give a quick blast on your horn to remind them to check their surroundings.
If you find yourself around a truck that’s “getting in the way,” be smart and be rational. They may need extra time to accelerate uphill or after a stoplight, for instance. They may also seem like they’re braking earlier than necessary, but tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and may take as long as 525 feet to come to a complete stop from 65 mph.
Keep trucks’ long stopping distance in mind when maneuvering around them in traffic, too. If you get too close, they may not be able to stop in time.
Truck drivers are imperfect beings like all of us, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to ride closely to them, honk excessively, or make rude gestures. Remember that in a strength and size contest, their vehicle automatically wins.
Truck drivers also work long hours and may be under lots of stress. Harassing them or being aggressive towards them can make them distracted and more likely to be involved in an accident.
If a truck driver is driving dangerously, get out of their way rather than jockeying for control of the road. Call the number you see on the back of their trailer or dial the FMCSA complaint line at 888-DOT-SAFT to report their dangerous driving. If they look like they’re about to cause a wreck, slow down and call 911.
Seatbelts are part of critical vehicle safety systems that reduce the risk of injury or death. When getting tangled up in a truck accident, you need every safety measure you have to protect you. Ensure that everyone else in the vehicle is buckled up, too.
Truck drivers can cause accidents by getting distracted, speeding, making reckless maneuvers, being drowsy, or driving under the influence of illegal drugs, prescriptions, alcohol, and over the counter remedies. So can you.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of vehicles cause accidents through their own negligence or risky behavior. Don’t contribute to the problem. Even if others around you appear to be driving in an unsafe way, don’t add to the risk. Back off, and let them risk their own safety. Report them to 911 if you feel like you or someone else on the road is in immediate danger.
Never drive drunk or under the influence of controlled substances. Never drive if you have not gotten enough sleep recently or feel drowsy. Never drive if you are taking medications or over the counter remedies that warn you to not operate heavy machinery after taking.
Being a safe driver can help you avoid situations where you contribute to risk and invite danger for others on the road. Even when other people are being reckless, staying calm and hanging back can reduce your risks of being in a severe accident with a large truck or any other vehicle.
We all make mistakes, but sometimes we can be involved in an accident and get hurt through no fault of our own.
If you or a close family member has been hurt, you have the legal right to pursue a personal injury claim against all at-fault parties. “At-fault parties” can include a truck driver, their employer, a negligent maintenance company, or someone else on the road who caused a wreck.
Auger & Auger can represent your case and help you file a strong claim for all of your accident damages. We gather evidence for you and investigate fault to identify all potentially liable parties. We negotiate with insurers on your behalf. If we cannot reach a fair settlement agreement, we have the ability to help you recover your damages in court.
Find out about your legal options and the next best steps you can take to pursue compensation when you call (800) 559-5741 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review now.