Trucks’ design features make them inherently dangerous to other vehicles on the road. Their poor maneuverability and large blind spots make them hazardous in sudden traffic changes.
Learn more about these dangers so you know how to share the road with trucks safely.
What Makes Trucks Dangerous?
A fully-loaded, 80,000-pound tractor-trailer is a barreling behemoth when traveling at fast speeds on the highway.
At this size and weight, any accident involving a truck is often catastrophic or fatal for passenger vehicle occupants. But what, exactly, makes trucks so dangerous in the event of an accident?
Trucks’ size and weight are precisely what make them so difficult to control in sudden traffic changes. The truth of the matter is that an 80,000-pound truck cannot stop on a dime when the traffic in front of it comes to an unexpected crawl or complete stop.
This is why it’s vital for truck drivers to maintain a large following distance when traveling on the highway so they have enough time to react and brake when the traffic slows or stops.
Additionally, it’s also important for motorists to remember never to cut in front of a truck. The truck driver may not be able to stop in time to prevent a rear-end accident.
Large blind spots
Another feature that makes trucks hazardous to other drivers is their large blind spots. Trucks have blind spots directly in front, directly behind, and on either side of them.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you cannot see the truck driver’s face in the truck’s side-view mirrors, then assume the truck driver cannot see your vehicle.
It’s important to remember that while you are in a truck’s blind spots, your vehicle is essentially invisible to the truck driver. Accelerate or slow down so you spend as little time as possible in a truck’s blind spots.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
Aside from trucks’ design flaws, there are several other factors that contribute to and cause truck accidents.
In a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), researchers identified the critical reasons for many truck accidents. A “critical reason” is defined as the immediate cause of the “critical event” of a truck accident, which in turn refers to the point at which the collision becomes unavoidable.
Researchers found that 87% of the critical reasons for truck accidents involve driver error. This includes the following sub-categories:
Driver non-performance: The driver fell asleep at the wheel or was disabled by a medical event.
Driver recognition: The driver was inattentive or distracted.
Driver decision: The driver drove too fast for conditions or followed other vehicles too closely.
Driver performance: The driver panicked or exercised poor directional control.
Additionally, researchers discovered that 10% of truck accidents occur due to vehicle malfunction or performance, and 3% occur due to environmental factors.
Who’s Liable in a Truck Accident?
Trucks are commercial vehicles, which means there may be multiple parties involved in their operation and maintenance.
As such, there are multiple parties that may be held liable for damages in the event of an accident, including the following:
The truck driver: If the truck driver drove while under the influence or violated federal hours-of-service regulations, then they may be held responsible for any resulting accident.
The trucking company: If the trucking company hired a driver who should not have been on the road or did not inspect their vehicles regularly, then they may be held responsible for any resulting accident.
The cargo loaders: If the cargo loaders did not load a truck in a way that prevented cargo shift and subsequent loss of vehicle control, then they may be held responsible for any resulting accident.
Can You Prevent a Truck Accident?
While it’s not always possible to prevent a truck accident, there are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of being involved in one.
The following safety precautions may help reduce your chances of a truck accident:
Never travel in a truck’s blind spots.
Never cut in front of a truck.
Never drive while drunk or distracted.
Always drive at the posted speed limit.
Avoid trucks that appear to be making erratic movements.
Recovering Compensation After a Truck Accident
A truck accident often results in catastrophic or fatal injuries for passenger vehicle occupants. In fact, 72% of people killed in truck crashes in 2017 were occupants of other vehicles, according to the FMCSA.
As such, victims who survive the crash often face monumental costs in medical bills and lost wages. You should not have to pay for these sudden expenses yourself when another party was responsible for the accident.
With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
Past and future medical bills
Past and future lost wages
Pain and suffering
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Us Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident caused by another’s negligence, we’re here to help.
During this difficult time, our professionals at Pearson Butler are prepared to launch an investigation to ascertain the primary cause of a truck accident and assign liability. We build our cases on physical evidence and the testimony of witnesses and experts to maximize compensation for you.
Contact us today at (800) 265-2314 to schedule a consultation.