Being involved in a truck accident can be far more dangerous and devastating than a car accident. According to the NHTSA, large trucks are involved in 8.1% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Aside from simply being larger, heavier vehicles, truck drivers also have limited visibility and often work long shifts where fatigue can have a deadly impact. It is important to know the causes of trucking accidents, and the best ways to protect yourself afterwards:
#1 – FATIGUED DRIVING:
Truck drivers often cover long distances and spend many hours on the road every day, which can easily cause fatigue. A fatigued driver can potentially lose control of the wheel, causing serious, if not fatal accidents. According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving while fatigued can have similar effects on your body as driving while drunk. It is the responsibility of the trucking companies to ensure their drivers get plenty of rest prior to making their shipments. Experts say that fatigue causes over 13 % of trucking collisions. To find more on yearly statistics involving large truck and bus accidents click here.
Drowsy delivery drivers can be especially dangerous. Not only are they driving on main highways, they are also passing through cities and neighborhoods with many pedestrians and children around making the stakes much higher if a collision occurs.
It is also very difficult for law enforcement to prove that the driver was fatigued prior to the collision, making this an important detail when determining who is at fault however, the sooner you contact an experienced truck accident lawyer for legal assistance, the better off you will be.
#2 – SPEED:
We all take part in minor mistakes on the road, but when a large truck is nearby, it is necessary that you drive extra carefully for the safety of yourself and others in the car.
Speeding around trucks is one of the major causes of collisions because huge semi trucks simply don’t have the same breaking ability/technology as smaller cars do. If you cut them off or abruptly stop in front of them, it is extremely difficult or impossible, for the truck driver to stop before rear ending you.
Take into account how much space is safe between you and the truck, and do your best to drive around them accordingly. No matter where in relation you are to the truck, if you collide with it, it will be more detrimental to you than the truck.
The way trucks maneuver, and the rules they follow on the road are far more complex than that of a normal vehicle. It is especially important around semi trucks to avoid distracted driving, speeding, tailgating, or any sort of reckless driving, because of the harm they will cause.
For example, trucks drivers have to watch their blind stops much more actively, slow down more for turns, adjust cargo and driving habits due to weather and driving conditions, all of which make truck driving far more dangerous than most people consider.
#3 – ROAD CONDITIONS
Similar to unexpected maneuvers by other drivers, unexpected changes in road and weather conditions have a much more dramatic effect on large vehicles like box trucks, large trailers, and big rigs. Be especially aware of changes to the road ahead when sharing the road with trucks.
60% of truck drivers say that road conditions are only getting worse, and the United States falls behind its overseas competitors in transportation infrastructure development.
For example, unpredictable weather related events have a dramatic effect on the driver’s performance and driving ability. Weather conditions such as wind speed, precipitation, fog, humidity, can impact the drivers’ control, visibility, and even the pavement quality, creating higher accident risks for truck drivers.
Many factors compromise the vehicle’s performance:
- Wind affects the driver’s visibility (due to snow or dust blowing in the air), causes lane obstruction (e.g items blowing onto the freeway), and impairs the vehicle’s performance due to lack of stability.
- Fog will affect the driver’s visibility and extend their travel time.
- Precipitation will affect the driver’s visible distance and/or the road’s pavement friction ( reducing traction).
These frequently occuring weather patterns may cause inconveniences in an average sized car; however, they need to be treated much more seriously when large trucks are involved. It is crucial to your safety to keep these factors in mind anytime you are behind the wheel.
Weather is not the only impact affecting road conditions. Construction projects and programs can also increase the accident risk for the drivers as well. Other contributing factors to poor road conditions may be a lack of appropriate road markings, poor landscaping, broken guardrails, or lack of traffic signals where they are needed. To find out more information on how road conditions affect truck drivers click here.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A TRUCK ACCIDENT
As drivers, it is up to us to do our best to avoid these collisions with trucks however, it is all too common for people to suffer unspeakable losses because of a trucking accidents. If you or a loved one is ever in an accident with a truck, remember the tips below.
Immediately Following the Accident you should:
- Tend to your injuries and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Contact law enforcement. Exchange information with others involved (their name, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance information).
- Collect evidence by taking photos and videos of the scene and vehicles involved. Also, be sure to collect the contact information of any available witnesses.
- Don’t deal with the insurance companies without an experienced legal professional to protect your rights.
Large businesses and Trucking companies have a lot of highly trained insurance agents and lawyers to ensure that they pay as little as possible on insurance claims. Taking on these corporate giants can be very difficult on your own. They often issue low-ball offers, try to drown you in paperwork, and delay payment as long as they possibly can. You need a law firm with the resources and experience to take on the insurance companies.
When truckers or truck companies fail to follow the FMCSA regulations, their negligence can lead to disastrous accidents. A truck accident attorney at Jacoby and Meyers can thoroughly review and examine your case to determine whether the trucking company has established standards or if they are at fault.
Our experienced team of truck accident lawyers will get you through the strenuous process of dealing with these complex details, so you can focus on recovery. The best thing you can do to ensure your well-being is to drive extra cautiously around large trucks and busses. However, in the event that you do find yourself involved in a truck accident, call the experienced legal team at Jacoby and Meyers at (800) 985-2451 for help.