How to Avoid Commercial Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are useful to our economy, as they help transport goods across the nation. However, with there being roughly two million commercial trucks on the road in the U.S. driving around them can be potentially dangerous due to their size and weight.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, over 4,400 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2016, which was a 2 percent increase from the prior year. There were also roughly 119,000 injury crashes involving trucks in 2016.
What Causes Commercial Truck Accident?
There are many ways that a truck crash can occur, which is reason enough to want to avoid these tragedies. The weight and stopping distance of these trucks is significantly different than that of a car. For example, if an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle are both traveling 40 mph and brake at the same time, it will take the truck 45 feet further than the car to come to a complete stop. The faster a truck is moving, the longer it will take it to stop relative to a normal-sized vehicle.
The FMCSA released a Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The results determined that there are certain underlying causes or conditions present when a truck crash occurs.
- Trucks were found to have brake issues in 27 percent of cases.
- In 19 percent of cases, truck drivers were unfamiliar with the route.
- Truck drivers reported feeling under pressure in 10 percent of cases.
- Seven percent of drivers were fatigued.
- Five percent of truck drivers were found to be driving aggressively.
Aside from the failure to properly maintain trucking equipment, one of the most common causes of truck crashes is driver fatigue. This often occurs when a truck driver fails to adhere to Federal regulations that specify certain hours of service and rest time between driving.
How to Avoid Commercial Truck Accidents
As a passenger vehicle driver, the facts can be daunting. There are malfunctioning trucks and exhausted drivers on the road, both of which are an accident waiting to happen. Even so, some severe truck crashes are caused by other drivers who don’t give trucks to space and respect they need and deserve. If you don’t want to become a statistic, here are several ways that you can avoid a commercial truck accident:
- Avoid the blind spots. Trucks have blind spots referred to as “no zones” on all four sides. Learn about these blind spots and avoid driving in them to reduce the chance of a crash.
- Maintain your distance. Give commercial trucks plenty of room to maneuver on all sides since they take longer to stop and may not be able to see your vehicle.
- Follow the rules of the road. You have a better chance of avoiding an accident with a truck if you are operating your vehicle within the law and as predictably as possible.
- Watch for turning trucks. Trucks must make wide turns, so you should give them space and avoid trying to pass them on the right.
- Slow down when necessary. When visibility is low due to weather or if you enter a work zone, slow down to avoid a collision with a truck.
- Report dangerous hazards. “If you see something, say something” applies on the road the same as in other circumstances. Report erratic or aggressive truck drivers to the authorities.
Speak with a Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Case
Truck accident cases can be much different than those involving passenger vehicles. Since the injuries are often more severe, the claims are more complex, and the damages can be higher. When a trucking or insurance company has a lot to lose, they are going to put up a vigorous fight or use underhanded tactics to settle a case for much less than it is worth.
For these reasons alone, you should avoid settling a trucking accident case without first speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. At the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., our aggressive and qualified Virginia truck accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the cause of your crash, identify any liable parties, and do what is necessary to protect your rights.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a truck crash or you have lost a loved one to wrongful death, you may be able to collect compensation for your losses. Contact our Charlottesville office now at 434-977-7977 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.