After declining for nearly 20 years with an historic low in 2009, the number of deaths and injuries from truck accidents has started to rise. What has caused the shift? A recent report from the American Association for Justice found a growing number of unsafe trucks on the road, which are often driven by overworked, underpaid and poorly trained drivers. Also, outdated insurance laws fail to provide adequate coverage for those involved in a car-truck accident. Unsafe trucking carriers aren’t being held accountable for the damages they cause.
As more truck drivers enter the highways each year – the percentage of freight traveling by truck is expected to reach 70 percent in the next decade – the report estimates that nearly 58,000 people will lose their lives in this timeframe.
Here are some tips to avoid accidents with big trucks.
- Know that large trucks maneuver differently from cars and be extra-cautious as you approach.
- One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars involve blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
- Do not pass a truck on the right while the truck is turning right. The rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels, so trucks must swing wide to the left to safely negotiate right turns.
- Large vehicles require a much longer distance to stop than cars. Cutting in front of a truck or bus could result in a serious or fatal accident.
- To properly pass a large truck or bus on the highway, accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed. Wait until you can see the entire cab in your rearview mirror before you signal and pull in.
- If a truck appears to be starting a left turn, check which way the driver is signaling before passing on the right.
Give trucks at least four to six seconds of space in wet conditions and at highway speeds.
- If you witness unsafe driving, report it to the authorities.
If you or someone you know is a truck driver, pass along these driver safety tips, including taking care of yourself, slowing down in work zones and keeping your distance from cars.
Have you been in a car accident with a truck driver? What about someone in your family or one of your friends? If you’d like legal advice on how to proceed and earn proper compensation from your auto accident, please contact our law firm.