Commercial trucks are a vital part of our economy. Tractor Trailer drivers transport an immense amount of goods on our roadways. While providing essential services, trucks are also very powerful and pose serious dangers to drivers. Find out on Today’s Blog how catastrophic truck accidents can be and some tips on how to avoid them.
Trucks Accidents are Common
Unfortunately, truck accidents are not only deadly, but they are also very common. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2017 alone, there were more than 450,000 truck accidents. Of those crashes, 107,000 were injury-related crashes and almost 5,000 involved fatalities. Sadly, Florida has ranked in the top three states for the most fatal crashes involving trucks.
The Catastrophic Danger of Trucks Accidents
Why are truck accidents so dangerous?
First and foremost, truck accidents pose so much danger because commercial trucks are big, and they are heavy. When a truck accident takes place involving a car and a tractor-trailer, size and weight are the two biggest factors. When a car, that only weighs 3000 to 4000 pounds, and a tractor-trailer, weighing anywhere from 35,000 to 80,000 pounds (fully loaded) collide, the likelihood of significant damage and horrific personal injuries or death is extremely high.
Another factor that plays a huge role in these types of crashes is something called “stopping distance.” Trucks take more time and distance than a smaller vehicle to stop. In fact, trucks traveling 65 mph can take up to two football fields to stop. Factors such as road conditions and a heavy load can increase the required stopping distance even more.
There are a host of other factors that can make truck accidents more common and more dangerous including:
- Driver lack of experience
- Driver aggressiveness on the road
- Brakes, tires, and mechanical failure
- Poor maintenance
- Driver distractions, fatigue, or lack of sleep
- Road conditions, poor signage, or inclement weather
- Unsafely changing lanes or driving on the fast lane
Avoiding a Deadly Impact with a Truck
Sometimes, accidents can be hard to avoid. However, here are some tips that help to minimize your risk of being involved in a truck crash:
- Maintain proper distance. This one goes without saying. If nothing else, staying back could prevent serious injuries, and perhaps save your life. Usually, trucks have warnings reminding drivers to stay back 50 feet. This is an especially good reminder and practice in inclement weather. That extra space could give you more time to react and be the difference between life and death.
- Avoid the Truck’s Blind Spot. Here is a good rule of thumb: if you cannot see the truck driver’s reflection in the mirror, he or she cannot see you either.
- Don’t Drive Between Trucks. Placing yourself between two trucks is just not a good idea, it is scary and unsafe. Arrive 5 minutes late, move to the slow lane and just let them go.
- Don’t pass a truck on the right. Passing on the left improves the chances the truck driver sees you.
- Don’t drive distracted. If you are driving, you should refrain from doing anything other than driving. Using cell phones, applying make-up or eating are not good practices while driving. Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents.
- Avoid pulling over whenever possible. Pulling over on the side of any highway is very dangerous and should be avoided if possible. If you must pull over, pull off as far as possible on whichever shoulder is the widest. Even with daytime driving, switch on your emergency lights to alert other drivers of your presence.
- Handling a Tailgating Truck. If a truck is tailgating you, make sure it is safe to move over and simply move over. Do not try and speed to get away or stay in front of a truck.
Why you Need an Experienced Lawyer
Florida drivers share the road with commercial motor vehicles every day. When truck crashes occur, they often result in life-altering personal injuries or wrongful death.
Being cautious and following Today’s Blog tips may help you and your loved ones avoid the catastrophic impact of a truck collision. However, if you or a loved one find yourself a victim of a Tractor Trailer crash in Palm Beach Gardens, the Treasure Coast, or anywhere in Florida, it is crucial to contact an experienced trucking accident attorney right away.
Special laws apply to these types of crashes. Evidence needs to be preserved and expert witnesses need to be consulted to prove your case. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. Trying to resolve everything with an insurance company adjuster could result in you losing thousands of dollars you should be entitled to due to someone’s else negligence.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident in Florida, call Smith, Ball & Báez Injury Lawyers at 561-500-HELP (4357) – Palm Beach County; 772-500-HELP (4357) – Treasure Coast or 239-500-HELP (4357) – Naples/Fort Myers.
Call for a free consultation, and remember, Safety First, Safety Always.