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Avoiding Accidents With Semi-Trucks

Large trucks and semi-trailer accidents can be more devastating than other car accidents. The size of trucks, and their inability to maneuver as fast as other vehicles on the road, can often mean that an accident with these large vehicles will result in fatalities. Weather and road conditions can affect a truck driver’s ability to drive safely, as can driver fatigue and distraction.

Drivers of commercial vehicles are regulated in the number of consecutive hours they can drive. They are mandated to have breaks after a number of hours to ensure they stay alert on the road. However, long hours at the wheel can still result in drowsy driving. Any driver who drives tired can cause an accident just by closing his or her eyes for a second.

In addition, truck drivers who text or use hand-held mobile devices while driving are six times more likely to cause a crash or a near crash. This is not only dangerous for the driver, it is against new federal rules. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers are NOT allowed to use a hand-held cell phone to make calls, text, compose messages, or make recordings, while driving. They are allowed to use a hands-free phone located in close proximity. Truck drivers who rely on hands-free devices should consider that their use can also cause sufficient distraction that can lead to an accident, as was the case in the 2013 truck and train collision in Rosedale, MD that led to a huge fire and explosion that blew apart nearby buildings.

Tips For Avoiding Accidents With Semi-Trucks

Drivers of passenger vehicles can take steps to protect themselves from accidents with commercial trucks. Below are some tips for safely sharing the road with large commercial trucks.

  1. Keep Your Distance To Stay Visible
    There is often a decal on a big rig’s trailer that states that if you can’t see the truck driver’s side mirrors, they likely can’t see you. Using the general rule-of-thumb of staying four-car lengths behind a semi truck not only helps you remain visible to the truck driver, but it puts a safer distance between you and the truck should it suddenly lose control. Also, when driving behind a truck in extreme rain and snowy conditions, remember that this also decreases the truck driver’s visibility of you.
  2. Know The “No Zones”
    A commercial vehicle’s blind spots are also called the No Zones. As part of FMSCA’s “Share The Road Safely” campaign, you can download the educational brochure entitled “Don’t Hang Out In The No Zone” to learn more about how to avoid the many blind spots of a semi truck.
  3. Safely Passing A Semi Truck
    It takes more time to pass a semi truck than it does to pass a passenger car. On two-way roads, it is often considered dangerous to attempt to pass a semi truck. Should you decide to do it, never make the attempt to pass on curvy or hilly roads. On freeways, do not speed past a truck and then jump in front of it. It is safer to maintain a constant speed while in the passing lane. It is often recommended that you should pass in front of a semi truck when you are approximately 6-7 car lengths ahead of it. Of course, use your turn signal to let the truck driver know that you will be getting in front of him or her.
  4. Trucks Need More Space To Make Turns
    Trucks require much more space to make turns, especially if they are turning right. The truck driver is unable to see other vehicles while making a right-hand turn. Motorcyclists and bicyclists should also be mindful of this fact and should never try to slip past the right side of a semi rig while it is turning or stopped at an intersection.
  5. When A Truck Driver Is Driving Dangerously
    If you witness a semi truck driver driving in an unsafe manner, there is usually a phone number on the truck that you can use to report the driver’s driving. If you choose to make the report, remember to pull over to a safe place before dialing your cell phone.

Contact Us For Legal Assistance

If you or someone you love was injured in an accident as a result of a negligent truck driver, you deserve compensation to help pay for your medical costs and other costs associated with your injuries. The truck driver’s employer may also be liable for your injuries. Contact the experienced Columbus, Ohio car accident attorney Ed Schottenstein of Schottenstein Law Offices for a complimentary consultation. Call us TODAY at (614) 467-8474. We will help you fight for your right to compensation.