How to Avoid Large Truck Accidents
Large trucks are defined as vehicles with a gross weight rating of over 10,000 pounds. That can be anywhere from 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger car weighs!
Because of their massive size, large trucks are more difficult to maneuver and stop than passenger vehicles. Also, when they are involved in an accident, they can cause significant damage to people and property.
Therefore, drivers of passenger vehicles should be extra cautious when driving around big rigs. This blog will go over a few tips to help prevent accidents with large trucks.
How Many Truck Accidents Are There a Year?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 2019 saw about 510,000 crashes involving large trucks. Of those, 5,005 resulted in death, and 119,000 resulted in injury to others.
As noted above, truck accidents are devastating – more so for occupants of passenger cars than for the truck driver. The FMSCA’s analysis of fatal truck accidents in 2019 revealed that 892 truck occupants were killed in the crashes. In contrast, 1,645 passenger car occupants lost their lives. Additionally, 454 pedestrians and 90 cyclists died in large truck accidents.
Similarly, for truck accidents resulting in injury, it was more likely for passenger car occupants and non-occupants (e.g., pedestrians and cyclists) to be injured than truck occupants.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
According to the FMCSA’s analysis, truck accidents often occur in rural areas and interstate highways. They are more common at night and during weekdays.
As with crashes involving passenger vehicles, the causes of truck accidents are complex.
Several factors can contribute to a truck crash, such as:
- Distracted driving: If the truck driver is paying attention to anything other than the tasks required to operate the vehicle, they might not react quickly enough to an unexpected obstacle in their path.
- Drunk driving: Although truck drivers generally receive extensive training before they can operate a big rig, that training does not enable them to safely maneuver their vehicle while under the influence. Driving while intoxicated is illegal and unsafe.
- Poorly maintained vehicle: If the truck does not receive proper maintenance or repairs, system or equipment failures could lead to an accident.
- Fatigued driving: Under federal regulations, large truck drivers can only be on the road for a certain number of hours. However, some drivers violate these regulations and drive for long stretches even when they are tired, putting themselves and others at risk.
Tips to Avoid Truck Accidents
While some crashes may happen regardless of the situation, some can be avoided when drivers take defensive or proactive steps.
Below are some of the things you can do to prevent a truck accident:
- Keep space between you and the truck: Trucks are large. If you follow them too closely, your visibility of the road in front of you is limited. Thus, you might not see an obstacle in your path until it’s too late. Leaving distance between you and the truck will give you more time to react.
- Be safe when passing the truck: It takes 20% to 40% longer for tractor-trailers to stop than passenger vehicles. When changing lanes in front of a big rig, you want to be sure there’s enough room between you and the truck before moving over, giving them enough time to slow down or stop if necessary. Also, use your signals long before you pass the truck so the driver can better anticipate your move.
- Avoid blind spots: If you can’t see yourself in the truck’s side-view mirrors, chances are the driver can’t see you. The possibility of them hitting your vehicle increase if you’re in their blind spot. Also, if you need to pass a large truck, do so on the driver’s side. The blind spot is larger on the passenger side.
- Let the truck pass: When a big rig’s trying to get in your lane, let them. Do not try to prevent them from moving over. Doing so could result in an accident, and because the truck is larger, you are more likely to suffer the consequences.
What Do I Do If I Were in a Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one were involved in a big rig accident caused by the other driver, you might be able to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. Because these are complex cases, it’s beneficial to have one of our attorneys guide you through each stage. We have extensive experience and are passionate about pursuing justice for those injured by another person’s recklessness or negligence.
To schedule a consultation with a member of our Denton team, please call us at (940) 400-0475 or contact us online today.