Trucking has played a major role in supporting American economic expansion and ensuring consistent supply chains for American businesses for decades. Unfortunately, as the number of large trucks on America’s roadways increases, so too do the risks from truck accidents that occur each year. Even when truck drivers make mistakes, act recklessly, or have negligent employers, there are truck accident prevention steps you can take to stay farther out of harm’s way. Knowing when the risks are greatest and how to avoid them can increase the chances of you and your family making it to where you want to be safely and reliably. People who want to stay safe on the road around trucks — even reckless ones — can use the following safety tips for truck accident prevention in light of a typical range of injuries that can be mitigated by crashworthiness tests yet are hedged by trucking insurance requirements that can be leveraged by expert advice from our experienced truck accident lawyers.
5. Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR): Centered on the need to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking altogether. The organization currently has a presence in all fifty states as well as the nation’s capital. Currently, the organization meets these aforementioned goals through educational resources, which are available on the site as well as through various social media platforms. In addition, the organization also offers countless research considerations and opens up a dialogue so that students and adults alike can be more responsible when it comes to drinking.
Allow Enough Time
- Due to a truck’s size, a driver’s reactions won’t translate as quickly as they would in a car. Lane changes, turns, and stops need to be performed with more than enough time with a truck driver to react accordingly. You should never merge in front or behind a truck suddenly or make a risky turn in front of an oncoming truck. If you do not give a truck driver ample time to react, you could be putting both your and their safety at risk.
Avoid Blind Spots
- Semi-trucks essentially have four blind spots, which are located in the front, the back, and on either side of the truck. There’s a reason why these spots are actually referred to as “no man’s land” — they’re very expansive and extremely dangerous. The blind spots on either side of a truck can actually extend across several highway lanes and further back than you’ll find with a regular car.
- It’s easy to become anxious when you’re driving near a truck, particularly when you’re on a busy highway. But you must remember to exercise patience and refrain from rash behavior. You may simply want to get out of the situation, but erratic driving behaviors will likely make things a lot worse. Pay attention and realize that the 10 seconds you might save by making a risky move won’t be worth the damage it could cause.
- A well-rested driver is a safer driver. Pull over to take naps if needed, and make sure to get a full night’s rest before driving. Knowing your limits is key, don’t push yourself past your driving capabilities, your life and the lives of other drivers is more important.
Watch Your Speed
- Always drive the speed limit, do not risk causing an accident just to get to your location faster. If an accident occurs because you’re speeding, you will end up being more behind than you would have been had you gone the speed limit to begin with.
Pay Attention to the Weather
- Don’t push your luck when it comes to the weather, accidents during poor road conditions can be that much more dangerous.
Inspect Your Vehicle
- Make sure that your commercial truck is properly maintained and well inspected before beginning your journey.
- Keeping distractions to a minimum is key to not causing an accident. Don’t use your cell phone, wear ear buds, or eat while driving. These are all things that can be done during a break. If you need to listen to music, try to choose one channel until you are stopped.
Use Turn Signals
- Make sure that you’re using turn signals when changing lanes and give the vehicles behind you optimal time to move out of the way before switching lanes. Check mirrors thoroughly before making the lane switch along with blind spots.
Beware of Problem Drivers
- Just because you’re following the rules of the road doesn’t mean everyone else will be. Watch out for other drivers who appear to be drifting in between lanes or swerving. More than likely these drivers are not paying attention to the road and extra caution should be taken to make sure an accident doesn’t occur.
Types of Injuries from Truck Accidents
Because accidents involving large trucks can often be devastating to people traveling in passenger vehicles, trucking accidents cause a wide variety of traumatic injuries. Some of the injuries commonly caused by trucking accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Scars and disfigurement
- Paralysis Nerve damage
- Whiplash Neck injuries
- Dislocated or amputated limbs
- Cuts, bruises, and abrasions
As the number of motor vehicles on America’s roadways increases, a certain number of accidents will inevitably occur; accordingly, involvement in a crash is largely considered part of the normal and expected use of a vehicle, rather than an extraordinary event. Because of this, most states require vehicles to meet certain crashworthiness standards. The term crashworthiness refers to a vehicle’s ability to protect its passengers in the event of a collision; each vehicle is manufactured with certain crashworthiness features designed to help minimize the effects of vehicular accidents on the people within, even during an accident involving a large truck. When these safety features do not function properly or a vehicle is not up to crashworthiness standards, a wrongful death or traumatic injury can result from a trucking accident that otherwise might have been far less damaging.
Several types of tests are performed to assess a vehicle’s crashworthiness. These tests typically involve placing crash test dummies in a vehicle and replicating representative crash situations to evaluate the vehicle’s ability to protect passengers from damage. Crashworthiness tests frequently performed include:
- Involves driving a vehicle into a solid wall or stationary vehicle to evaluate the effects of a head-on collision.
- Similar to frontal impact crashworthiness tests; however, the area of impact is offset so that only a portion of the front of the car impacts another vehicle.
- Evaluates the ability of a vehicle to protect passengers from side impact collisions, such as often occur at intersections.
- Measures a vehicle’s ability to support itself and protect passengers when turned upside-down or on its side, and is frequently performed on sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
Defective Crashworthiness Features
Vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States are required to have a number of standard crashworthiness features to protect passengers’ safety. However, these safety features can be vulnerable to manufacturing and design defects which reduce crashworthiness. Among the automotive defects which may be found to be detrimental to a vehicle’s crashworthiness are the following:
- Malfunctioning airbags
- Insufficiently supported roof
- Improperly placed or poorly welded fuel tanks
- Ripped or otherwise damaged seat belts
- Malfunctioning seat belt latches or retractors
- Seat backs that crumple upon impact
- Doors that spring open upon impact
Trucking Insurance Requirements
Because most large trucks are operated as commercial vehicles, they are subject to a different set of insurance requirements than typical automobiles. Federal regulations currently require that all commercial freight vehicles carry liability coverage to compensate for the heightened risk of injury in collisions involving this type of vehicle. Additionally, vehicles which carry certain types of hazardous materials are required to carry liability insurance or a bond for public liability or property damage. Furthermore, each state has its own set of additional insurance rules and regulations that may surpass the federally-mandated minimums.
The Need for Expert Advice
Many lawyers incorrectly believe that handling a case involving a tractor trailer accident is the same as handling a case involving an automobile accident, but nothing could be further from the truth. Trucking accidents are very different in many ways from accidents which involve automobiles alone: hundreds of state and federal regulations govern the ownership and leasing, insurance, operation, repair, maintenance, loading, and use of commercial vehicles.
In addition, there are regulations to address recurring problems such as hours of service violations, driver training and supervision, drug and alcohol testing, improper loading, and hundreds of other issues. Defense lawyers and insurance companies fiercely litigate tractor trailer accident cases, and they know the laws inside and out. It is imperative that your attorney have exceptional experience and training to protect your rights.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
After a truck crash, seek any necessary medical treatment first and foremost. Then, it is important that you contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Once hired, our experienced truck crash attorneys at The Hadi Law Firm will preserve vital pieces of evidence, secure the scene of a tractor trailer crash, and take necessary photographs and witness statements. This is critical because evidence can be lost, misplaced or purposely destroyed by the trucking companies. The preservation of that evidence is crucial to proving liability in the collision.
If you or a close family member has been hurt, you have the legal right to pursue a personal injury claim against all at-fault parties. “At-fault parties” can include a truck driver, their employer, a negligent maintenance company, or someone else on the road who caused a wreck. The Hadi Law Firm can represent your case and help you file a strong claim for all of your accident damages. We gather evidence for you and investigate fault to identify all potentially liable parties. We negotiate with insurers on your behalf. If we cannot reach a fair settlement agreement, we have the ability to help you recover your damages in court. Find out about your legal options and the next best steps you can take to pursue compensation when you contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review now.