Approximately 100,000 Americans are injured each year in accidents involving large commercial trucks. With the high speeds and tremendous size of commercial trucks, the injuries in these crashes are usually more severe than those sustained in simple car accidents, sometimes resulting in brain injuries or even death. When crashes occur between cars and large trucks, passenger car occupants account for 98 percent of all fatalities.
The federal government and each state have a complex system of rules and regulations particular to truck drivers and the companies they work for. Unfortunately, many of these provisions are often overlooked, ignored, or willfully violated. The result of this is often an otherwise avoidable truck accident. Though most truck accidents are caused by overworked, overtired, and distracted drivers, or poor safety training and vehicle maintenance, there are a few things drivers of cars can do to avoid contributing to these accidents.
Accident Prevention Tips For Passenger Car Drivers
One of the most important things that automobile drivers can do to prevent accidents is to avoid driving in the blind spots that are located to the sides and rear of large trucks. Remember that if you can’t see the driver in the side mirror of a truck ahead of you, the driver can’t see you.
Because trucks need sufficient space to turn, they often make unexpected right turns from the left or center lane. Cars attempting to pass on the right could then face having the truck cut in front of them. For cars on the left, the trailer may swing out wide, creating an impact with a passing car. To stay safe, keep an eye on trucks’ turn signals and avoid driving or stopping to the right of a truck that is about to turn.
Merging is another major cause of truck accidents. When cars cut in front of large trucks or merge without proper speed, trucks often cannot slow down in time to avoid a collision.
Stopping Distance and Weight Make Truck Accidents More Dangerous
You must also remember that trucks are much larger and heavier than cars. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when traveling on the highway. This makes stopping far more difficult for large trucks than for passenger cars, and dramatically increases the force of the impact when collisions occur. When cars change lanes too closely in front of large trucks or merge without proper speed, trucks often cannot slow down in time to avoid a collision. When merging, make sure to leave enough room to account for the increased time it takes a large tractor-trailer to stop.
The law firm of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, is dedicated to making our highways and roads safer for everyone. For more on what you can do, or on how we hold those who caused a crash responsible, please feel free to visit our website at www.sgglaw.com.