Even though the trucking industry is a major benefit to our economy, there are a significant number of accidents and deaths that result from a number of causes. According to the Traffic Crash Facts 2017 Annual Report from Nebraska’s Department of Transportation, nearly 50 percent of accidents involved a tractor-trailer, semi-trailer, or other heavy truck. Those accidents attributed to nearly 57 percent of all fatal crashes.
At Welsh & Welsh PC, LLC, we recognize how devastating truck accidents can be. We’re here to provide you with the legal representation you deserve, in the event you or a family member suffers from such a tragedy. We also want to do what we can to aid in the prevention of devastating collisions. Take the following five tips into consideration and you may be able to help truckers avoid causing wrecks.
1) Avoid Blind Spots
Large trucks and buses have limited visibility on all four sides of the vehicle because of large blind spots around the front, back, and sides. A standard large commercial vehicle’s blind spots are in a lane to the left, two lanes to the right, 20 feet in the front, and 30 feet behind, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
As a general rule, make sure you can see the driver in their side-view mirror. If you cannot see the trucker, it’s likely they cannot see you. Stay as visible as possible while driving near semis, keep at least a four-car distance when possible, and stay out of the blind spot areas whenever possible.
2) Use Caution When Passing
Passing a large tractor-trailer is different than passing a regular passenger vehicle. In addition to the blind spots, trucks cannot stop as quickly or maneuver as easily as other vehicles. This means that truckers need additional time to react to their surroundings and adjust their speed.
If you need to pass a commercial vehicle on a highway, take the following points into consideration:
- Only pass a truck on the left side, where the trucker will have an easier time seeing you.
- Avoid passing while going uphill or downhill, as this is when a truck’s speed can vary the most.
- Maintain your speed as you pass.
- Use the proper signals.
- Do not merge back to the right until you can clearly see the truck driver in your rearview mirror.
In the event a truck passes you, stay on the right and slow down. This will give the trucker more time and space to proceed. It will also minimize the amount of time you spend in their blind spot.
3) Be Mindful of Road Conditions
Inclement weather can be a hazard for all drivers, which is why it’s always important to take road conditions into consideration before even leaving the house. If you do need to travel when the road conditions are less than ideal, always be extra cautious when driving near tractor-trailers. Because of their limited ability to stop quickly, you’ll want to give even more space than you normally would in the event of ice, snow, or road debris.
4) Give Trucks Space
Avoid being near a truck for too long. This includes while passing. Driving too close to a truck puts you at an increased risk for an accident because of the following factors:
- Sudden Braking. If a truck brakes and you’re following too close behind, you could end up sliding underneath the truck. This type of accident can result in serious injury or death.
- Tire Blowouts. You’ve probably seen tire scraps on the highway. These are a result of tire blowouts. When a truck’s tire gives out, it shreds. If you’re too close to a vehicle when this happens, pieces of tire could strike your vehicle.
- High Winds. When the winds are strong, trucks are at risk for rollovers. If you do not pass efficiently and a gust comes through, the consequences could be devastating.
5) Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving always puts you and other drivers at an increased risk of harm. Avoid activities like talking on the phone, texting, eating, and grooming. If you decide to complete these tasks while behind the wheel, you’ll be unaware of what’s going on while the trucks and other vehicles near you.
If you’ve been involved in an accident that resulted from another driver’s negligence, our Omaha truck accident lawyers are prepared to review your case and determine how best to proceed based on your circumstances. To take a step toward receiving compensation for what you’ve been through, contact our legal team today.