Truck accidents are on the rise, according to a report by CNBC. Despite commercial driving rules that are supposed to be enforced by federal and industry regulators, nearly 4,000 people per year are killed in truck accidents; 100,000 are injured.
If you or a family member has been injured in a trucking accident, then you should absolutely contact a trucking accidents lawyer and file an accident injury claim to cover your expenses and hold companies and drivers accountable for negligent practices. You should ensure that the driver involved adhered to truck driver log requirements and that the freight company didn’t encourage the driver to work outside of federal hours of service or while impaired.
But there are also some things you should keep in mind when driving a passenger car that can prevent truck accidents and protect everyone involved. Here are some tips for staying safe on the road around commercial vehicles:
- Know All the Blind Spots
Most drivers know about some of a truck’s blind spots, but there are more than you probably think. A truck driver cannot see you if you are directly behind the truck, on either side of the trailer, directly in front of the truck or beside the cab’s right-hand door. Assume that if you can’t see the driver’s face in the mirrors, the driver can’t see you, either.
- Understand Stopping Time
Because of a truck’s large mass, it takes a long time for one to stop even after the brakes are applied. When you move into a lane ahead of a truck, immediately speed up until you’ve created an ample cushion of space behind you. And never cut off a truck; if you need to suddenly hit the brakes, it’s extremely unlikely the truck will be able to stop in time — even if the driver has quick reflexes.
- Beware Passing on the Right
It takes about 25 seconds to pass a truck, so you’ll need a lot more time than you might expect. In particular, you should be careful of passing a truck on the right-hand side, since it’s nearly impossible for the driver to see you.Never pass a truck on the right if its blinkers are on or you are approaching an intersection where the truck might turn right.
In general, it’s a good idea to be patient with large trucks and give them plenty of space. Remember, trucking is a major part of the American economy, and most commercial drivers are doing their jobs as best they can.
If you’re a commercial driver, there are a few things you should keep in mind, too. Never allow your employer to pressure you into breaking laws regarding commercial drivers; if you’re fired for refusing, that’s a case of wrongful termination. Wrongful dismissal lawsuits have risen by 260% over the past two decades, and employees win cases brought against their employers (or former employers) about 67% of the time, so there’s some recourse there. But even if you were to lose your job, that would be better than potentially putting yourself on the line — physically and financially — in case you or someone else is injured in a accident. Personal injury law grows by almost 2% each year in the U.S., according to IBIS World Research, and you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit.