If you have ever driven on a highway, you have no doubt had a few tense moments when driving past a semi. Truck accidents happen every day, and more often than not, they are caused by unsafe traffic maneuvers. Truck accidents are largely preventable, but many people are unaware of the rules of driving safely near these large vehicles.
Fast Facts About Big Trucks
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
-57 percent of accidents that involve large trucks happen outside of the city, in rural areas
-27 percent of accidents occurred on interstates
-In 2017, there were 13 truck accidents per million drivers in the United States
Because trucks are hauling heavy cargo, traveling at a high rate of speed, and are much larger than cars, accidents between them and passenger cars tend to be severe. Here are a few tips for motorists to remember when driving near large trucks.
Allow more space between yourself and the truck than you would between yourself and another car. Trucks need more time and distance to stop than a passenger car and giving them a wide berth is safer so that they can react quickly to changing traffic situations.
Leave extra space when passing in front of a truck. Trucks cannot stop on a dime like a car. Never cut off a truck. If there is not enough room to pass in front of a truck safely, wait until it is safe to do so or simply maintain your lane.
Stay out of a truck’s blind spot. The right side of the truck is a huge blind spot for a trucker. They can more easily see the cars on the left than on the right. If you look at the driver’s mirrors and you can see his face, chances are he can see you. If you can’t, it’s safe to assume he can’t see you either.
Give trucks room to turn. Trucks need a large amount of room to turn, so if you are at an intersection, back up and allow them room. Assume that the truck is moving faster than you think, and as such, needs more space to turn.
Don’t challenge a truck. If a trucker wants to get in front of you, let him. If he wants to move into your lane, let him pass. If there is ever a tie between a truck and a car, the car will take the brunt of the damage.
Pass quickly and be predictable. Don’t linger and hang out next to a truck. Look a few seconds ahead and only start passing when there is room in front of you to do so. Be predictable and avoid making sudden moves. Use your turn signals and don’t stop unexpectedly. If you miss your exit, simply continue to the next one. Don’t cut in front of the truck suddenly or slam on the brakes.
Tips for Truckers to Share the Road Safely
Watch your speed. The lower your speed, the easier it is to avoid an accident. Stick to the speed limit and drive at a safe speed for weather conditions.
Plan ahead. Sometimes surprises on the road cause accidents. Map out your route to ensure you are taking the safest route to the destination. Talk to the customer to find out if any road hazards may affect your driving. Make sure there are no restricted exits, roads, or underpasses that can make your trip a challenge.
Don’t drive distracted. Driving long distances is boring. Many drivers depend on music or podcasts to keep themselves entertained while on the road. Make sure that you can make your drive easier without being distracted from the driving task.
Get rest. Take your rest breaks and avoid driving while tired. A sleepy drive is a dangerous one.
New Orleans is not a city without truck accidents. Crash data from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development logged 96 fatalities in 85 fatal big rig crashes in 2016 with 8 fatalities in 6 fatal crashes in New Orleans alone. If you have been hurt in a truck accident, you can speak to a truck accident lawyer in New Orleans. Most of the practices offer free consultations, so you can make sure that you find out more about your rights and maybe get the compensation you deserve.
With a law degree under his belt, Mark Scott understood very early that law communication was a relatively neglected area. He decided to help people by “translating” the language and offering information and advice in a clear, useful, and actionable manner. For this reason, instead of finding him in court, you will most likely find his name online, where he is very active and thriving as a legal columnist. His part of making the world a better place is to make the law a less convoluted maze. He aims to make it easier for people to understand when and how to seek legal counsel, how to proceed in a significant number of legal matters, and to find the proper resources so they can stand up for their rights.
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