Trucking Accidents: How to Avoid an Accident with a Big Rig
Commercial truck accidents are some of the deadliest that occur on the nation’s roadways. When a large tractor-trailer that is often carrying over 80,000 pounds (when it is fully loaded) collides with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian, it is likely to do some serious damage. There are nearly half a million large trucking accidents each year, and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 4,000 individuals lost their lives in trucking accidents in 2017, the most recent year we have on record.
Sadly, those driving and riding in passenger vehicles usually suffer the most with these types of accidents. When a passenger vehicle collides with a big rig truck, occupants of the passenger vehicle are 28 times more likely to be killed in the crash. Passenger vehicle occupants also tend to suffer more serious and catastrophic injuries from these events.
To avoid accidents with big rigs, motorists need to be extra cautious when sharing the road with them. Here are five things you should do to help ensure that you are not involved in a commercial trucking accident:
Keep a Safe Distance
Large commercial trucks need room to maneuver on the road. If you get too close to a truck, a lot of things can go wrong. For example, the truck may have unsecured cargo that begins falling out of it. If you are too close, your vehicle may get hit by various objects and debris. Other potential mishaps may include tire blowouts, the truck rolling over or getting turned on its side, or sudden stops. In general, you should always leave at least one car length for each ten miles per hour you are driving between you and the vehicle ahead. This is especially true when you are following a big rig. Also, I would not ride along beside one of these trucks any more than is absolutely necessary. If the traffic is preventing you from getting on by the truck, wait until it clears and then move up and past the truck.
Avoid Driving in the Truck’s Blind Spot
Every vehicle has blind spots where the driver cannot see around or behind them with their rearview or sideview mirrors, but a trucker’s blind spot is much larger than that of a passenger vehicle. With an 18-wheeler truck, there are four blind spots in various places in front of or behind the truck that are commonly known as “no zones.”
Stay out of these zones as much as possible to help ensure that the truck does not try to change lanes (while you are in one of the no zones) and cause a collision. Most newer vehicles come equipped with blind spot monitors, but there are still tens of thousands of older trucks on the road that do not have them. Until technology catches up, it is important to be acutely aware of the dangers of blind spot accidents with large trucks.
Pass Trucks Very Carefully
Use extreme caution when passing a large commercial truck. If you are on a multi-lane highway or interstate, you should pass the truck quickly and carefully using the left lane. The trucker’s largest blind spot is on their right side, so avoid passing on the right if at all possible. If you are on a two-lane road, keep in mind that passing the truck is going to take longer than a regular car, and allow yourself plenty of distance and ample visibility to safely perform this maneuver.
Give Trucks Plenty of Space to Turn
Related to the first point, trucks require a lot of space to complete a turn. When a truck is turning, you risk becoming trapped inside the truck’s turning radius and causing a collision if you are following too closely or you come up on its left or right side.
Refrain from Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a growing problem, and it is one of the leading causes of all types of motor vehicle accidents. Despite raised awareness to this issue, it seems that many motorists cannot stay off of their cell phones. Texting while driving and other electronic activity while behind the wheel is very dangerous, and all motorists should refrain from engaging in this practice any time they are driving, but especially when you are sharing the road with a big rig truck. Most states have banned texting and driving. If you are texting and are involved in an accident, your phone records will be obtained and you will be found negligent.
When you Do Everything Right and Still end up in a Trucking Accident
If you follow best practices,your chances of ending up in an auto accidentare minimized. However, commercial vehicle accidents can still occur due to the negligence of the truck driver or other responsible parties. If you or a loved one was injured in a big rig accident in Mississippi, get in touch with the experienced truck accident attorneys at the Gardner Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We will meet with you to discuss your case and advise you of your rights and legal options.
Call our office today at (228) 900-9618 to schedule your free consultation, or send us a message through our online contact form.