As drivers, we know that sharing the road with large vehicles like trucks and tractor-trailers can be treacherous. These vehicles raise the risk of serious or fatal injury when they lose control on the road and / or collide with other vehicles. In 2014 for example, the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Association (FMSCA) reported that there were over 400,000 trucking accidents causing about 82,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths in America. These vehicles are also very different in the way they maneuver and operate. There are several examples of the types of dangers that other vehicles have traveling around these massive heavy vehicles. There are also things that drivers can and should do to manage their travel with trucks on the road. Here are several safety tips to help avoid truck crashes that have been noted by the FMCSA that regulates these vehicles.
First, remember that it takes much longer for trucks to stop. If they are traveling too closely to the vehicle in front of them, they can fail to stop or rear end that vehicle. Every day we see truck drivers barreling down the rear of the vehicle in front of them, that vehicle could even be the one we are driving. It is a frightening experience to be sure. If you can do so safely, give trucks room and move over to the right.
Second, be aware of blind spots. Another way that trucks differ from other vehicles, is that they have much larger blind spots so that smaller vehicles traveling around them could be struck. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid being in a truck’s blind spots which are on the sides and in back of the truck. A good way to think about this is if you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, chances are you can’t be seen either. Attempting to move ahead of the truck or to fall behind it are also good ways to cope. Being aware of this potential hazard is a good safety measure.
Third, learn ways to pass safely. There are steps that drivers can take to try to avoid the inherent risks of trucks and their drivers that often travel too fast or too close to other vehicles. One is ensuring that you pass on the left and not on the right. Avoid passing trucks on the downgrade of hills or mountains. If a truck is attempting to pass you, let it. Remain to the right and decelerate if you can. This provides the driver with more distance from you and also helps keep you out of the truck’s blind spot.
Fourth, as we said above, trucks have a longer braking distance. Giving them room whether you are in front of or behind a truck is always a good idea. Many accidents happen when passenger vehicles are struck by fast moving trucks with reckless drivers in them. If you get hit, your car could end up under the truck and that is extremely likely to cause serious injury. So, if you are driving around an aggressive truck driver, move out of his or her way safely. Truck drivers are often under a time constraint to deliver goods and driving fast is no excuse for safe driving. If they have a number on their truck, report them to your local highway patrol or to their employer. They are also regulated to take breaks and to maintain logs of their work hours and rest hours. Its good to remember that while we must share the road with them, trucks are often very dangerous vehicles in an accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, we can help. Scholle Law’s legal team is dedicated to helping those who have been injured in a truck accident. We also represent the families of victims of fatal truck crashes. Please contact our law firm for a free evaluation of your situation at any time. We are here to help and to talk with you.