According to federal government statistics, large trucks are an increasing percentage of the vehicles traveling on American roads. In 2015 large trucks were involved in:
- 342,000 accidents resulting in property damage;
- 87,000 accidents resulting in injuries; and
- 4,050 accidents resulting in fatalities.
When a passenger car is in an accident with a tractor-trailer, the car occupants suffer the vast majority of the injuries and fatalities. The reason is obvious – tractor-trailers weigh 20-30 times more than cars and their height and ground clearance make them even more dangerous in a collision.
So what can a car driver do to reduce the chances of getting into an accident with a big truck?
Give Trucks Room
Maintain a safe following distance between your car and the truck so that you have time to react to a sudden stop, a wide turn, a tire blowout or a rollover caused by wind. A gap of at least four seconds between you and the truck should give you enough time.
In bad weather, giving trucks more space is crucial. Tractor-trailers spray water, snow and mud on the vehicles around them–keep your distance so that your windshield stays clear.
Know The Truck’s Limitations
Driving a tractor-trailer is not like driving a car so you need to understand the differences to safely share the road:
- Stopping Takes Longer: The sheer size and weight of the truck means that it can’t stop as quickly as a car.
- Merges and Lane Changes Are Slower: Unlike a car, a truck can’t merge or switch lanes quickly because of its size.
- Blind Spots: Trucks have big blind spots all around them. The major ones are directly in front of the truck, directly in back, and on the right side. Because you disappear from the driver’s view when driving in a blind spot, spending too much time there makes an accident more likely. If you can’t see the driver’s face in the truck’s side mirror, the driver probably can’t see your car.
- Wind Is Bad: Lots of vertical surfaces means that high winds can push a truck around. In windy conditions, assume that a truck’s driver will have more difficulty controlling the truck’s location.
- Turns Are Wide: Big trucks need more room to make turns – especially right turns.
Pass Trucks Safely
Always pass a truck on its left side where the blind spot is smaller. And keep your speed steady speed as you zip by.
Contact Aversa & Linn
Aversa & Linn has more than 20 years of experience representing clients injured in accidents with large trucks. Our goal is to make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call 215-751-1717 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.