Trucks of all sizes populate the nation’s highways and byways and for many, large tractor-trailers can be quite intimidating. Trucks transport close to 70 percent of all the goods delivered in the U.S., with total driving miles estimated at around 140 billion. Even though safety technology has improved and trucks drivers should be well-trained and certified, truck crashes contribute to 10 percent of all motor-vehicle related fatalities each year. What can be done to reduce these statistics? To begin with, it helps to understand why these crashes are so dangerous.
The most apparent risk factor for these trucks is their large size and weight (around 12 to 80 thousand pounds); smaller vehicles will obviously sustain more damage in an accident. Trucks are also less maneuverable for these same reasons. They start, turn, and stop slowly, and other drivers need to be aware of this. In addition, trucks have more blind spots, and this translates into limited visibility on all sides.
Other contributing factors include poor weather, including snow, rain, and fog. High winds can also be hazardous, since the large surfaces (these can be 500 square feet) of these trailers can catch the wind, which may make the vehicle drift out of lane. Driver errors, which can be predicated by distracted driving or DUI, are also of concern. One of the most serious kinds of tractor-trailer crashes are rollovers, which can happen in any kind of weather and to experienced truck drivers. This is when the truck ends up on one side, or upside-down.
Safe Driving Tips for Truckers…
Truckers should be well prepared for their driving responsibilities before they even turn on the ignition. This means proper training and certification. They should also be well aware of the truck’s mechanical condition by ensuring that it has passed inspections and that its load is well secured and properly positioned.
While on the road, truckers need to stay focused and prevent distractions, just like other drivers. Aside from cell phone use, alcohol or drugs, driver fatigue also causes truckers to become distracted. Aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding and unsafe passing are also very hazardous.
…and Those Who Share the Roads
The key element for other drivers is to allow truckers enough reaction time, and this is done by giving them extra space and making moves slowly. Leaving enough distance gives them that extra time they need to maneuver or stop. Passing too fast and then slowing down or even stopping in front of a truck is dangerous, and these trucks should never be passed on the right.
Passenger vehicle drivers should also try not to get boxed in a lane that is surrounded by large trucks, as this too lessens reaction times. If a truck needs to change lanes or turn they need extra space, so it pays to slow down. Keeping away from blind spots is also important, since truckers may not see other vehicles in their mirrors, no matter how large they are. Another essential piece of advice is to never tailgate a tractor-trailer; if it stops abruptly, this could be a recipe for disaster.
Our Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Help Accident Victims Obtain Compensation for Their Injuries
At East Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers offer trusted legal assistance for truck accident victims and their families. Call us at 757-352-2237 or complete an online contact form. Our Virginia Beach, Virginia office serves clients in Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.