Trucks are a critical part of the economy of the United States. They carry goods to final destinations—including a myriad of retail outlets—providing the food, clothing, and household products that people buy every day. Without trucks, the economy would grind to a halt. Vital as they are, however, drivers of passenger vehicles need to be aware of the risks of sharing the roads with trucks.
Trucks and cars mix daily on the nation’s increasingly busy roads and highways. But when 18-wheel tractor-trailer trucks and cars collide, severe injuries and deaths are likely to occur—and the occupants of the cars are usually the losers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014, there were 3,903 people killed and an estimated 111,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. Most of the people killed or injured in those collisions—73 percent—were passenger vehicle occupants.
Trucks weigh 20–30 times as much as passenger cars. They also have a higher ground clearance and require 20–40 percent more time to stop. All of these factors raise the risk of injury or death for occupants of passenger vehicles involved in accidents with large commercial trucks.
The FMCSA is an excellent source of tips for driving around trucks safely
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has some excellent tips for driving safely around commercial trucks. They include:
- Stay out of the “No Zones”: Large trucks and buses have huge blind spots—or “No Zones”—around the front, back, and sides of the vehicle. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, assume that the driver can’t see you.
- Pass safely: Signal, pass quickly, and don’t linger in the trucker’s blind spot.
- Don’t cut it close: It is especially dangerous to “cut off” a commercial bus or truck. If you move in quickly from either side, you are likely to be in a blind spot and the driver may not see you in time.
- Stay back: Because trucks are so high off the ground, if you fail to stop in time, your vehicle could easily slide under the truck.
Anticipate wide turns: Buses and trucks require extra turning room, so be alert.
Call Stewart J. Guss, attorney at law, today to discuss your options
Even when taking all the proper precautions, it is still possible to be involved in an accident with a commercial truck. Thousands of people are injured or killed in such collisions each year. Often, they are innocent victims injured through no fault of their own. Many of these people suffer lifelong, debilitating injuries and may be entitled to compensation. For a free case evaluation to see whether you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, contact Stewart J. Guss, attorney at law, at 281-664-6500, or send us an email through our online contact form.