How to Avoid Accidents With Semi-Trucks
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large truck crashes accounted for more than 4,000 deaths in 2017. Semi-trucks are larger than most vehicles on the road, so often, it’s the other driver who is harmed in a collision with one. In fact, almost 70 percent of semi-truck accident victims were occupants of the other vehicle involved. Many times, these accidents are preventable by taking extra cautionary measures.
Getting into an accident with a semi-truck can be physically and financially devastating. As a driver, it is essential to do everything you can to avoid these accidents on the road. For your safety, you should follow these five tips to prevent semi-truck accidents.
1. No Tailgating
Tailgating is the top cause of auto accidents. It can be especially deadly when it comes to 18-wheelers due to their size and weight. A semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, so they need more time and space to slow down or come to a complete stop than the average vehicle requires. You should give them plenty of room to do so—at least 500 feet to be safe.
2. Account for Weather Conditions
As a driver, you’ve probably noticed more accidents when the weather is bad. This is because drivers have less visibility and unstable road conditions to navigate, such as slick roads during a rain storm. You should exercise extreme caution and give large trucks ample room to drive, stop, and change lanes during inclement weather.
3. Avoid Blind Spots
Big rigs have what are known as “no zones,” which are large blind spots you should be aware of when you are driving near one. These zones are located at the front, sides, and the rear of the truck. Do your best to stay away from these zones so that the driver can see you on the road.
4. Don’t Speed
Every mile you go over the speed limit will increase your stopping distance should an accident occur. In general, the faster you go, the harder the impact will be should you collide with another vehicle. You should be safe and stick to the posted speed limits on the road, especially around big rigs that need more time to stop should speeds suddenly come to a halt.
5. Pass Safely
You should use extreme caution when passing a semi-truck. Keep a constant speed in the passing lane and only pass when you are at least six car lengths ahead of it. Of course, don’t forget to use your turn signal to give the driver a heads-up that you will be getting in their lane. For your safety, you should avoid passing when you’re on curvy roads or roads that are very hilly as these types of roads can have conditions that are difficult to predict.
What You Should Do After An Accident
Even when you take these precautionary measures, some accidents are just unavoidable. If you get in an accident with a semi-truck, follow these steps:
- Check for injuries: Take note of any injuries that you might have and then call 911 if you are seriously hurt. If you are able to exit your vehicle, you should check on the truck driver and see if they need help.
- Call the police:If an officer hasn’t yet come to the scene, call the police so that you can provide a written statement of the incident. This will be important should you need to pursue a personal injury claim.
- Look for witnesses: Ask anyone who witnessed the accident to stay until the police arrive so that they can give their statement as well.
- Gather contact information: You should obtain the contact information of the company the driver works for. There’s usually a phone number on the back of the truck, but if you don’t see one, ask the driver. It’s also a good idea to get the contact information of each witness in case you need it later.
- Get medical care: Even if you don’t have obvious injuries, it’s best to get checked out by a medical professional after an accident. You could have whiplash or internal injuries that don’t present symptoms right away.
- Call a lawyer: If you have been injured as the result of a semi-truck accident, it’s important to call a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.
There are special laws that govern truck drivers, and a lawyer will be able to dig in to find out if they were negligent in some way. For example, the United States Department of Transportationlimits truck drivers to 11 hours of driving time in a day and no more than 60 to 70 hours per week. This is because driver fatigue is a top cause of motor vehicle accidents. If it is found that the truck driver exceeded these limits, the driver could be heavily fined and face other serious repercussions.
If the truck driver is indeed discovered at fault for your accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, your lawyer could seek payment for your:
- Pain and suffering due to injuries
- Property damage related to the accident
- Emergency medical treatment and ongoing care
- Lost wages from missing work
- Other expenses caused by the accident
Additionally, if your injuries are so severe that you have been unable to return to work in the same capacity as you worked before, you may also be able to receive compensation for your future lost income. Only a legal professional will be able to tell you what you could qualify for, and getting in touch with a Bakersfield lawyer immediately following an accident will help improve the outcome of your case.
Bakersfield Auto Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident, call the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones today for a case evaluation. We will protect your rights and strive to get you maximum compensation for your injuries so that you can move forward.