According to alltrucking.com, there are more than 3.5 million commercial truck drivers across the United States. These drivers cover more than 433 billion miles a year, delivering more than 70 percent of the nation’s freight.  While everyone would certainly hope truck drivers do everything possible to ensure the safety of the smaller vehicles sharing the roads, safety measures are sometimes compromised. When that occurs, those in a 3,000-pound vehicle have little protection against a fully loaded commercial truck that weighs in at 80,000 pounds and can be as long as 75 feet. This is why those in a passenger vehicle have little chance of escaping a truck accident without serious injury or death. There are ways, however, to decrease your own odds of being involved in a truck accident.

How can I avoid the “no-zone?”

A trucker has limited or no visibility in specific areas, such as directly behind and directly in front of the truck, as well as on the left and right rear portion of the trailer. Most drivers are aware of their own vehicle’s blind spots, but because a passenger vehicle is so much shorter, these “no-zones” are not as crucial as those on a truck. Generally speaking, if you are unable to see both mirrors on the truck from behind the truck, the truck driver is probably unable to see you.

What should I avoid when I see a truck making a turn?

In particular, you should be aware of truck drivers making right-hand turns because the truck is required to swing out very far to the left in order to make the turn. If you happen to be in the trucker’s blind zone on the left side, your vehicle could be squeezed between the curb and the truck. In another scenario, you could be on the right side of the truck—again, in the trucker’s blind zone—unseen when the truck driver attempts to make a right-hand turn. Either of these situations could lead to a serious truck accident. If you must pass a truck—on either side—do so quickly and safely.

Why should I avoid driving near a large semi-truck?

As noted above, you certainly want to avoid a trucker’s blind zones, however, there are additional reasons you should avoid driving side-by-side or directly in front of or in back of a large commercial truck. Most large trucks have nine tires on each side, with the majority of these tires being recapped—used tires that have replaced tread on them. You have likely seen parts of truck tires on the highway; this occurs when the tread flies off, potentially hitting another vehicle and causing an accident. Tractor-trailers equipped with “super singles” can experience a tire literally blowing apart, leading to a potentially serious accident. Also, since it can take the length of a football field for a large, loaded truck to come to a complete stop, you do not want to be directly in back of the truck when the driver is forced to stop suddenly.

Could the cargo on a truck slide off or fly off?

Unfortunately, improperly secured cargo is one of the top reasons for truck accidents. Perhaps the loading company failed to ensure the cargo was properly secured, or perhaps the truck driver neglected to double-check the cargo security. Either way, if the cargo is not securely strapped down, then a turn, or a sudden stop could send it sliding off the trailer. One notable instance of this is a truck carrying a trailer load of phone books that were not properly strapped down. The truck driver made a turn on a busy highway, sending thousands of telephone books scattering on the road, causing a number of accidents.

Do I really need a truck accident attorney?

The short answer to this question is “definitely!” Truck accidents are especially complex because there can be more than one defendant—more than one person or entity who is responsible for the accident. The truck driver may have been careless, distracted, impaired, fatigued, or improperly trained. The trucking company may have been aware that the truck driver was improperly trained, fatigued, or the company may have failed to conduct a thorough background screening. The loading company may have failed to properly secure the truck’s cargo, the maintenance company may have failed to ensure the truck was properly maintained, or the manufacturer of the truck or truck part may have supplied a dangerous or defective product. It is extremely important that you speak to a knowledgeable Tronfeld West & Durrett attorney who understands how to prove liability, and who will fight for your rights and your future. Contact us today.