Large commercial trucks are involved in thousands of accidents on this nation’s roads each year. Even though these 18-wheelers and big rigs help fuel this country’s economy, they continue to pose a serious threat to other drivers on the roadway.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, you might have the right to recover damages, but it’s a better option to avoid these crashes altogether. Here is why these accidents can be so catastrophic and a list of the best ways to avoid a crash with a big rig.
Why Do Large Trucks Pose a Danger?
A big rig can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, so your passenger car will be no match for one of these trucks in a crash. You are essentially putting a 40-ton truck up against a 2-ton car, so your vehicle damage is probably going to be total, but the bodily injuries could also be severe and even permanent.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in truck-involved multi-vehicle crashes, 97% of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Commercial trucks also account for 21% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in the United States.
Large truck accidents create some dangerous scenarios for passenger vehicles. Depending on how the crash occurs, there can be an underride or override effect with one of these collisions. When your car either slides under a big rig or has a truck run over the top of them, this can be deadly.
How to Avoid Accidents with a Big Rig
Since you can’t avoid sharing the roadway with 18-wheelers and big rigs, it makes sense to use as much caution as possible in their presence. Here are some tips for avoiding a crash with a tractor-trailer:
- Keep Size in Mind
We already outlined how much bigger an 18-wheeler is compared to a passenger car. What many motorists don’t realize is that these massive vehicles also have limited maneuverability. Specifically, it takes them much longer to slow down or stop than your sedan or SUV. If you cut in front of them, cut them off, or follow too closely, this increases the likelihood of a crash.
- Avoid the Blind Spots
Large trucks have more and larger blind spots than a passenger vehicle. These are called “no zones,” and there is one located on all four sides of the truck. True to the name, you’d be best served to stay out of these areas because the truck driver can’t see you.
For a typical tractor-trailer, there is a 20-foot blind spot in front of the truck, and a 30-foot one behind it. There is also a blind spot of one lane to the left/rear of the driver’s mirror and a blind spot of two lanes to the right/rear of the passenger mirror. If you are traveling or passing, keep clear of these areas as much as possible.
- Follow the Rules of the Road
It’s a lot easier to avoid crashes when drivers are behaving predictably and following the law. So, obey the rules of the road by maintaining a safe speed, following signals, and only passing on the left.
- Use Caution in Hazardous Conditions
Commercial trucks are more likely to have trouble in dangerous conditions than cars and they also commonly send debris, mud, and snow flying, which can create an additional hazard. When the weather is bad, give these trucks even more space than normal.
- Be Mindful in Passing Situations
Now that you understand about blind spots, you can be more mindful when passing an 18-wheeler. But it’s also important that you never attempt to pass a tractor-trailer that is turning. These trucks must make wide turns, so be sure you know their intentions before proceeding.
Contact a Qualified Truck Accident Attorney
Even if you do everything right, there is always the possibility that you could be involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle. These accidents can occur due to truck driver negligence, faulty parts, aggressive trucking company practices, or a variety of other factors. If you were not at fault in the accident, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident with a commercial truck, you should first take care of yourself. Trucking accidents can be extremely dangerous for everyone involved, so make sure you seek medical attention and continue to follow your doctor’s orders throughout your convalescence. Also, If you have suffered injuries and losses that result in missed work or other damages you should contact an experienced truck accidents attorney to discuss your rights. Accidents with large commercial vehicles involve a lot of very unique qualities and require an attorney that is familiar with these specific facts. You should invest the necessary time to research qualified trucking accident injury attorneys, making certain that the attorney you choose has successfully represented truck accident injury victims in the past.