In today’s world, more and more 18-wheelers are taking to the highways picking up goods, foods, and materials from one place to take to another. However, more big rigs on the road means potentially more semi truck accidents. When a big truck strikes a passenger vehicle on the road, the force can drive the car into another automobile or off of the road claiming lives or causing severe injuries.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recorded 286,000 collisions involving 18-wheelers. These accidents claimed the lives of 86 percent of occupants of passenger cars and left 75 percent injured. According to Jennifer Tierney, head of the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) and an article posted in the New York Times, in 2015, written by Howard Abramson, from 2009 to 2013 the death toll for crashes that involved trucks rose immensely. In fact, from 2009 fatal accidents rose 28 percent. Moreover, recent reports show that truck-involved accidents that caused fatalities rose for four straight years, reaching 3,946 in 2013.
Safety Comes First to Prevent a Truck Accident
When semi truck accidents take place, those wearing seat belts have a much better chance of survival. Seat belts can help prevent a driver from slamming into the steering wheel or dashboard as well as prevent backseat passengers from being thrown around, getting slammed indoors and, flying into the front seat. Numerous testimonials have been given regarding how wearing seatbelts saved lives. Furthermore, it doesn’t cost anything to wear seat belts; however, if you don’t wear them it can cost you your life.
Be Attentive, Focused and Alert
It is essential that your eyes stay focused on the road at all times while sharing the road with others, especially with large trucks. This includes not being distracted by things like cell phones and texting. It is also important that you stay alert when driving a passenger car or even a pickup truck on a highway where massive multi-ton semi-trucks are present, especially in heavy traffic. It is always wise to pay attention to what truck drivers are doing when you are driving on the same road as they are as they tend to exceed the speed limit and even worse, fall asleep at the wheel. If you notice any of these actions, try to steer clear keeping a safe distance between the truck and your vehicle.
Distance and Buffer – If You Can’t See Them, They Can’t See You
One thing to always keep in mind is that 18-wheelers and other big trucks need a lot of road room. They also have many blind spots when driving and usually can’t see a passenger car trying to pass on their right. Therefore, it is up to you to watch out for them. You should always keep a safe distance between you and the truck in front of you or on the side of you to create a safe zone in case an unforeseen semi truck accident should occur, such as a tire blowout or a jackknife.
People don’t call them 18-wheelers for nothing. Should any of these tires blow, it could cause shrapnel to fly out and hit passenger cars nearby. Not only can this cause severe injury to the occupants of a passenger car, but it can also cause extreme damage and even loss of life.
A jackknife happens when a semi loses control of the trailer latched onto the truck and it starts to travel sideways down the road and in most cases will cause the truck to tip over. Traveling a safe distance will give you a chance to stop before crashing into the truck if such things should happen.
When Driving On The Highway
Another important thing to be aware of is that maneuvering a large commercial vehicle is not the same as driving a car. For example, it can take half a football field to bring that thing to a complete stop. Accelerating is also different since it requires the driver to be shifting gears, hitting the clutch, hitting the fuel pedal, and steering all at the same time. A truck will only gain speed gradually, especially with a heavy load or when going uphill.
If something should suddenly appear in front of a moving truck, the driver’s basic instinct will be to swerve out of the way, if you are driving too close your car could be struck by the truck with a very strong force. The results could be fatal or very serious, not only for the occupants of the passenger car but for the truck driver and passengers as well. Ensure you and your passengers get to where you are going safely by being aware of what’s going on around you at all times during your commute.
Things to Avoid Getting in an Accident with a Semi Truck
You can avoid car accidents, by following these rules…
- Never make sudden lane changes, instead, put your signal on to let other drivers know you are going to change lanes, then look back several times and when it’s safe to do so, move over to the desired lane.
- Never assume that a truck driver can see you just because you see him. They cannot see everything around them. Therefore, it is up to you to watch out for them.
- Never pull out in front of a truck. If you are trying to decide whether you can make it, be safe and wait.
- Never make a sudden stop in front of a truck as they may not be able to avoid striking you. Remember a truck has to slow down first before it can come to a complete stop.
- Never drive on the right side of a truck (blind spot) when it has its right turn signal on. Because they can’t see you there, they may assume it’s safe to do so, and move over to your lane or think it’s safe to make a right turn.
Semi Truck Accident Statistics
Although truck drivers are trained professional drivers, they are not miracle workers and they too have semi-truck accidents. Therefore, you should never assume it’s safe to follow a big truck too closely. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVAS), an unannounced “brake check” was conducted on 6,337 trucks and 14.2%, or around 900, had brake violations and had to be put out of service – pretty scary statistics knowing that at any time, that semi truck you are driving next to could have bad brakes.
In addition, 18-year-olds are now allowed to drive a semi and all drivers can drive for hours without sleep while sharing the road with you, isn’t that comforting?
Colliding with a big rig can leave victims severely injured and with emotional trauma as well as destroy your vehicle completely, which is why you should always be extremely careful when driving alongside, behind, or in front of, an 18-wheeler.
Were you involved in an accident with a semi-truck? If so, and you are in or around the Phoenix area, contact Jason Hutzler, a personal injury attorney who has years of experience dealing with such incidents and obtaining rightful compensation for victims of these occurrences. When Hutzler is working for you, it’s like you have a whole team of professional attorneys backing you up.