FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-12-04
Traveling down the highway, drivers of passenger vehicles can quickly become aware of their relative smallness, particularly after large commercial vehicles whiz by them on both sides. Despite the sometimes frightening experience of driving near these large trucks, however, many drivers of smaller vehicles fail to take appropriate precautions in such situations to avoid truck accidents. There are some very practical tips drivers of passenger vehicles can employ to help protect them from harm.
Avoid dangerous encounters with large trucks on the road
Above all, the most important point to remember when driving around large commercial vehicles is that in many ways they operate differently from smaller passenger vehicles.
For instance, large trucks require a much longer distance to stop than smaller cars. Drivers of these large vehicles must leave a significant gap between their truck and the vehicle in front of them on the road. Consequently, drivers of smaller vehicles often take advantage of that space to change lanes in front of the large truck. If traffic suddenly slows and the passenger car driver is forced to slam on the brakes, there is a chance the truck driver will not be able to stop in time, resulting in a potentially deadly truck accident.
In addition, truck drivers have much larger blind spots than drivers of smaller passenger cars. Drivers of smaller vehicles are at risk of a truck driver running into them if they drive in the truck’s blind spot. While it is not always possible to avoid blind spots altogether, drivers of small vehicles should try not to travel in blind spots for long periods of time.
Of course, universal, common sense safety precautions are also wise to employ when driving around large trucks. For example, drivers of all vehicles should always wear seat belts while on the road. Regardless of the type of accident, seat belts can be a lifesaver, protecting vehicle occupants from being thrown into the windshield or out of the vehicle. Drivers of all types of vehicles should also avoid driving after consuming alcohol, as alcohol slows a person’s reaction time, increasing the risk of a serious accident. Drivers should also avoid distractions, such as cellphones, while driving.
Truck accidents are often fatal
Statistics regarding truck accidents emphasize the importance of abiding by these helpful safety tips. In 2008, truck accidents were responsible for one out of every nine deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. In total, 380,000 trucks were involved in such accidents that year in the U.S. Of those, over 4,000 trucks were involved in crashes in which at least one person died. According to the NHTSA, in 2008, 4,229 people were killed in truck accidents — another approximately 90,000 sustained injuries due to truck crashes.
Due to the size difference, the people killed and injured in such accidents tend to be the occupants of the smaller passenger vehicle. In fact, people in other vehicles accounted for 74 percent of the fatalities and 71 percent of the injuries resulting from truck crashes.
If you have been injured in a large truck accident, a skilled Ocala personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected and just compensation is received.