How to avoid being a victim of a trucking accident

by Tim O’Hare

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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.

Many trucking accidents can be attributed to driver negligence, often on the part of the truck driver. A driver’s negligence can be caused by one of a number of factors, including: talking on the phone, texting, driving while fatigued or drowsy, speeding, inattentive driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inexperienced driving, or improperly loaded or overloaded cargo in a commercial truck.

While not all car accidents are unavoidable, many are. As a driver, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers from an accident that could lead to serious injury or death. Keep yourself and your family safe by following these driving guidelines regarding large trucks:

Treat trucks differently than other cars. Trucks can weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car. Due to their 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. Avoid cutting off a semi in traffic or putting yourself in a situation where you may have to suddenly stop in front of a semi. The size of an 18-wheeler also makes it difficult for the truck driver to change lanes. Avoid driving directly next to a large truck for a long time.

Stay 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.

Do not stop on the side of the road. If you have to stop your vehicle for some reason, avoid stopping on the shoulder of the road. Semi drivers may not see you stopped until it is too late. If you must stop, try to pull completely off of the road, either into the grass or on a side road. If you do stop on the side of the road, do not stay in your car. Get out and move away from traffic.

The best advice for keeping yourself safe on the road with large trucks is to drive with caution, knowing the added difficulty large truck drivers may face when it comes to sudden stops, changing lanes or adverse weather.

Victims of trucking accidents can receive compensation if they have suffered bodily injury or property damage in an accident caused by the truck driver’s negligence or fatigue. If you have been involved in a traffic accident with a commercial truck, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.

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