Monsters of the Road: The Dangers of Trucking Accidents

by Dallas and Carrollton Truck Accident Lawyer, Tim O’Hare

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Sharing the road with commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers and semi-trucks is a necessity in today’s world, but it doesn’t come without risk. These trucks weigh tons and travel at high rates of speed on the highway. When involved in an accident with a smaller vehicle, the results can be catastrophic.

The sheer force of the impact of being rear-ended by a semi-truck can cause life-altering injuries and even death. Traumatic brain injury, fractures, broken bones, internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, spinal cord injury and paralysis are all very real possibilities if you are ever involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck.

Not only could being hit from behind by a semi-truck cause you to come to a sudden stop, resulting in serious injury from the sheer g-forces involved, in some cases, a large truck could completely crush a smaller vehicle.

Every year, there are more than 450,000 trucking accidents on U.S. roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 motorists are killed in accidents involving large trucks and an estimated 140,000 are injured. In an accident involving a passenger vehicle and a semi or commercial truck, 74 percent of those killed are passengers in the car.

Dangerous and deadly trucking accidents may be attributed to driver negligence, distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inexperienced driving or improperly loaded or overloaded cargo in a commercial truck.

Not every accident is avoidable, but there are tips you can remember to help protect yourself and your passengers from serious injury or death in a trucking accident.

Treat trucks differently than other cars. Big rig trucks weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car. Due to their sheer size, it is nearly impossible for semi trucks to come to a sudden stop. For example, a semi truck that is moving at 55 miles per hour can take the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. The size of an 18-wheeler also makes it difficult for the truck driver to change lanes. Never pull out in front of a semi truck and avoid situations where you may need to suddenly stop in front of a large truck.

Keep yourself visible. Driving next to a semi or directly behind one can make it very difficult for the truck driver to see you. Do not follow too closely or stay directly next to a semi truck. A general rule is that if you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.

Never stop on the side of the road. Pulling onto the shoulder of a busy highway could cost you your life. If you have a flat tire or are having trouble with your car, if at all possible, pull completely off the road, either onto the grass or onto a side road or into a parking lot. Drivers of large trucks like 18-wheelers may have a hard time seeing a car stopped on the side of the road until it is too late — especially at night. If you do stop on the side of the road, do not stay in your car. Watch for traffic and carefully get you and your passengers out and move as far away from traffic as possible until help arrives.

Always wear your seatbelt. Proper driver and passenger restraint in a vehicle is absolutely necessary in order to reduce the effects of g-forces on the body in any accident. The seatbelt will protect you from being thrown into the interior of the vehicle, such as the dash or another seat and can prevent ejection in an accident. The extra “stretching” of a seatbelt can also help reduce the amount of g-forces put on your body in an accident.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one as the result of a trucking accident, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare today. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.

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