It’s just common sense that semi-trucks and tractor trailers are going to cause more damage in an accident than another passenger vehicle. These massive trucks often travel at excessive speed and have drivers behind the wheel who are either fatigued or otherwise trying to make a deadline.
In most accidents with semis and big rigs, no matter negligence or fault, the party that walks away from the crash with the least injuries is the truck driver. This can be a difficult fact to accept when statistics show that many of these accidents are due to truck driver negligence. Therefore is it is vital to be armed with the facts about trucking accidents and what you can do to avoid these dangerous and deadly crashes.
What You Need to Know About Trucking Accidents
There are over 15.5 million trucks in the United States and close to 13 percent of those are big rigs, semis, tractor tailors, and 18 wheelers. There are approximately 60.5 injuries and 2.3 deaths caused by big rigs for every 100 million miles driven on roadways in the U.S.
A commercial truck accident costs $59,150 on average. Those that result in injuries and fatalities can cost much more. Fatal big rig accidents cost this country over $20 billion annually, $13.1 billion of which is attributed to loss in the quality of life of accident victims.
Approximately 90 percent of commercial truck accidents are caused or made worse by human error, which can be on the part of the truck driver, drivers of other vehicles, passengers, or pedestrians. Since the results of semi-truck accidents can be so severe, it makes sense to do everything possible to avoid these crashes.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents with Big Rigs
Truck drivers are supposed to have specialized training to handle the large and complex vehicles that they operate, but you can’t rely on others to keep you safe on the road. This is particularly the case when those truck drivers could be in a hurry, tired, or otherwise not following the rules themselves.
Some trucking accidents aren’t the fault of the truck driver at all. When the driver of a passenger vehicle doesn’t take the right precautions or is reckless themselves, a dangerous situation can develop. Several ways that you can avoid accidents with big rigs include:
- Don’t drive directly next to the truck. All vehicles have blind spots. In a passenger vehicle, you just have to check over your shoulder to make sure your blind spot is clear—but truck drivers don’t have that luxury. Tractor trailers have massive blind spots on their left and right sides. Driving next to a tractor-trailer for any length of time is incredibly risky, because the driver may not see you if they decide to change lanes. If you’re passing a big rig on the left, speed up to get out of their blind spot. If you’re in a truck’s blind spot on the right, drop back.
- Don’t drive directly in front of the truck. In addition to the blind spots found next to and behind a truck, trucks also have—you guessed it—a blind spot directly in front of them. This could put you in grave danger if you’re in front of a truck and have to brake. Don’t pass a truck and get back in front of them unless you can leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the front of their truck.
- Avoid tailgating. You may think that a truck driver can see you from your position behind them, but there’s a good chance you’re invisible to them. On top of that, think about what would happen if they were to hit their brakes when you were following too closely. There’s a good chance you’d be involved in an underride accident, an accident that often ends in severe or fatal injuries. Drop back and give plenty of space to truck drivers.
- Don’t pass on the right of the truck. This is one mistake that isn’t quite as widely known as some of the others on this list. When truck drivers have to turn right, they often swing out to the left slightly in order to clear their turn. If you aren’t paying attention and you try to pass on the right, you could end up being hit on your side by the truck driver. It’s poor road etiquette to pass on the right in any case, and in some states, it’s even illegal.
- Drive slower in work zones. Always drive slower in work zones because these areas are the sites of many trucking accidents.
Get Experienced Truck Accident Crash Representation
If you are the victim of a trucking accident, you are likely seriously hurt. You may have also lost a family member to one of these catastrophic crashes. If the truck driver or their employer were negligent or acted recklessly in any way, you have a right to pursue full and fair compensation for your losses.
At Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., our experienced Virginia trucking accident crash attorneys will review your situation fully and take any steps necessary to protect your rights. If you have a case, you have the right to request payment for medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death. Contact us now at 703-361-1555 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.