One of my biggest fears on the highway is an eighteen-wheeler crashing into my car with the kids in the back seat. If you've ever seen an eighteen-wheeler overturned on the side of the road or the devastation caused when a truck collides with a passenger car, you know what I mean...
How can we avoid trucking accidents?
There are times when there is nothing an automobile driver can do to avoid a big truck barreling towards them. Sometimes, there is nothing the truck driver can do to avoid a passenger car making an illegal turn in front of them.
But, there are steps that truck drivers, trucking companies, and motorists can take to minimize the danger of big rigs on the highway.
What Can Motorists Do to Avoid Trucking Accidents?
If you are driving down the interstate about to pass an eighteen-wheeler, or if you see an eighteen-wheeler coming up behind you, you should be on high alert until the danger has passed.
Some suggestions for safely sharing the road with these behemoths include:
Watch the Blind Spots
Many passenger vehicles have "blind spots," where a part of the vehicle's frame is blocking your view of the road and vehicles. Big trucks may have huge blind spots, and you should be aware of them as you are approaching or passing a big rig on the highway.
If you are approaching from directly behind a truck or passing on either side, be aware that you may be passing through the truck driver's blind spot. A good rule of thumb is, if you can't see the truck driver in his mirrors, then he may not be able to see you either...
If you may be passing through a truck driver's blind spot, move through the area as quickly as possible, and watch for turn signals, brake lights, or any indication that the truck is about to change lanes.
Give the Truck Plenty of Space
If you are traveling behind or passing a big truck on the highway, give it more space than you would another car or small truck.
If the truck turns, it might take up an extra lane on its left side. If you are on the right side, your vehicle could become trapped between the truck and the shoulder of the road.
If the truck brakes suddenly, your car could not only crash into the truck, but it could slide under the truck's trailer resulting in a catastrophic accident. The truck could overturn or jackknife, or a tire blowout could result in damage to your vehicle.
Unfortunately, truck drivers will sometimes take to the road with cargo that is not properly secured. If a truck's load begins to fall, you need time to see it and hit the brakes or navigate out of the way quickly...
Use Your Turn Signals
You should always use your turn signals, to warn other motorists of what you are about to do. This applies in spades when you are sharing the road with a big truck. Trucks are bigger and heavier than your car, they take longer to brake, and they take longer to navigate through traffic.
Make sure that any trucks near you know what your intentions are before you pass, turn, or stop your vehicle.
Don't Get Mad
Road rage kills.
If a truck driver is acting erratic or angry on the highway, forget your ego and get out of the way - no matter who is in the right, you will lose in any collision between your car and an eighteen-wheeler...
Most importantly, be vigilant and stay alert when there are big trucks on the road. If a truck jackknifes, blows a tire, or makes a sudden turn without signaling, you may only have moments to compensate and avoid what may be a fatal collision.
What Can Truck Drivers Do to Avoid Trucking Accidents?
Drivers of passenger cars have a duty to follow the rules of the road and not endanger other motorists - this includes being cautious when driving near big trucks.
But, many catastrophic trucking accidents could have been avoided if the truck driver had followed the rules of the road, including following federal regulations that are designed to minimize the devastating impact of truck collisions.
Truck drivers should:
Follow the Rules of the Road
After long stretches of driving, truck drivers must guard against complacency when it comes to traffic laws. When you are barreling down a highway in an 80,000-pound hunk of metal, it is critical that you use your turn signals, obey the speed limit, obey traffic signal devices, and follow the traffic laws.
Truckers not only have to follow the rules of the road that apply to every motorist, but they have their own set of rules that are specific to eighteen-wheelers...
Know and Obey Trucking Regulations
Truck drivers must be familiar with and follow federal regulations, including:
- Hours of service - truck drivers are limited in the number of hours that they can drive before they must stop and rest;
- Logging their hours - truck drivers must record and keep track of the hours they work using an electronic logging device (ELD);
- Cargo loads - not following the weight and size limits or the proper methods for securing cargo results in catastrophic accidents when a truck's cargo spills onto the highway; and
- Vehicle and equipment maintenance - faulty brakes, cracked windshields, or defective tires can cause fatal trucking accidents. Truckers should inspect their vehicles and submit a maintenance report before every trip and should not rely on someone else's word that their rig is safe.
Truck drivers must be constantly alert for smaller vehicles that are approaching, passing, or traveling in the truck's blind spots, and drive defensively to protect not only themselves but the passing motorists as well.
Are you in the right? The driver of that car is wrong? Is it worth killing them? Road rage and aggressive driving can turn an over the road transport vehicle into a killing machine...
With great power comes great responsibility - if you know that one small mistake could take the lives of an entire family on the highway, you should be constantly vigilant and never get angry at the other motorist.
What Can Trucking Companies Do to Avoid Trucking Accidents?
Unfortunately, many companies are motivated solely by financial considerations - if it is more profitable to not be safe, companies will often make the more profitable choice.
On the other hand, when it costs more to kill a person than it does to operate safely, companies, hopefully, will rigorously follow regulations and ensure that their rigs are operating safely.
That is where trucking accident lawsuits come in - they not only compensate the accident victims, but they also ensure that trucking companies pay a financial cost when their negligence results in injury or deaths.
How can trucking companies avoid trucking accidents?
- Provide proper training for all drivers and other employees who load or perform maintenance on the trucks;
- Support drivers who prioritize safety over profits - no amount of increased profit is worth the life of a child who may die in a trucking crash;
- Screen potential employees for criminal history, prior incidents of negligent driving, and alcohol or drug abuse; and
- Follow all federal regulations and ensure that all employees are following federal regulations.
Most importantly, every trucking company should foster an atmosphere of safety over profits - supervisors or business owners should be doing everything possible to avoid the horror of a catastrophic trucking accident.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a trucking accident, get an experienced trucking accident lawyer on your side immediately. Your SC truck accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates will investigate the crash and gather the evidence that you will need to prove who was responsible for the accident and what they must pay.