During the last several years, the number of trucks and tractor-trailers hauling cargo around the United States has dramatically increased, and with the economy recovering each week, this trend is bound to continue. Every year, large truck accidents kill nearly 4,000 Americans, so our lawyers want to take a moment to provide a few tips that truck drivers and passenger cars can utilize to keep themselves and everyone around them safe.
Slow Down in Work Zones-Because of the large size of trucks, they are very difficult to maneuver. This makes operating these vehicles in a maze of construction cones and detours very difficult. Slow down when entering work zones, and take precautions to ensure that you can react in a timely manner to what lies ahead of you.
Maintain a Safe Following Distance at All Times-Here, the massive size of trucks posses an even greater danger. Breaks can only do so much to stop several tons of weight traveling with momentum, and this is something every truck driver needs to be aware of.
Get Enough Sleep and Know Your Limits-Many truck drivers are used to driving long hauls across the continental United States, and because of this, they may overestimate their ability to function while they are sleep deprived. Follow the regulations limiting drive time, and always make sure you are rested and alert before getting behind the wheel.
Avoid Blind Spots-The best rule of thumb for avoiding a trucks blind spot is: If you can’t see the driver, he or she can’t see you either. Never assume that a truck driver is aware of your presence, and ensure that all of your lane changes and actions are smooth and cautious to allow a truck time to react.
Never Pass a Truck on the Right-Trucks are not nearly as fast as smaller passenger vehicles, and this often leads to motorists attempting to pass tractor-trailers, especially when they are slowing down to turn. Remember that these vehicles have a very wide turning radius, and in many cases, if a trucks back end drifts into the adjacent lane it can cause accidents.
Stay Alert-Above all, it is always a good idea to be extra cautious around large trucks. Tractor-trailers and other large vehicles behave in a way that is very different from a car or SUV, so driving defensively and being alert will do more to keep you safe than anything else. (Legal Info; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Our lawyers have spent more than two decades representing the victims of trucking accidents. Fatal large truck accidents often cost over $4.3 million in damages, but because of outdated federal laws, trucking companies are only required to hold minimum insurance policies for $750,000 to cover all crash expenses, regardless of how many people are killed or injured; this leaves taxpayers with the responsibility of paying the difference. (American Association for Justice; Take Justice Back)
Next week, the Senate will vote on a new transportation spending bill that could include an amendment to take crucial resources away from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA); resources, which they need to increase insurance minimums to meet today’s costs. We urge you to call or write your U.S. Senators regarding this vote, and let them know that you want the trucking industry to be held accountable.