In the past year, the traffic on roads in Lucas County has likely increased as the economy improves and this means that the risk of a collision occurring between a motorist and a trucker has also probably grown. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that the number of fatalities on the nation’s roads have climbed 5.3 percent according to USA Today. However, it is unknown how many fatalities involved commercial trucks.
Commercial truck accidents are often serious and can leave victims facing a number of challenges. However, while some accidents are caused by the truck driver or a mechanical failure of the semi, others are caused by motorists, themselves. Simply by taking the time to understand the functions of a tractor-trailer and how these large vehicles move, motorists can avoid putting themselves in a dangerous situation.
Commercial trucks are not cars
The following facts should be kept in mind when a motorist finds him- or herself within the proximity of a tractor-trailer:
- Trucks cannot always stay at the legal speed – when a trucker faces a road of hills, the trucker will often slow down so that he or she can build momentum on the downside of the hill. The momentum then helps them ascend the next one. It is best to respect this and pass a trucker instead of driving behind them getting frustrated.
- Trucks take longer to stop – Sometimes a driver will cut in front of a semi and then have to brake to avoid colliding with the car in front of them. If the driver is too close to the semi’s front-end, the motorist may get hit if traffic suddenly slows down or stops.
- Trucks have big blind spots – A commercial truck with a single trailer has four main blind spots and unlike cars, the trucker cannot simply turn his or her head to see. Therefore motorists should avoid tail-gaiting, staying directly in front of the cab, or driving just behind the cab on either side. A good rule to follow is that if the motorist can’t see the trucker then the trucker likely can’t see the motorist.
- Trucks have slow response times – motorists should make sure that their intentions to change a lane or merge into the same lane as the truck are clearly communicated. This gives the trucker time to slow down accordingly.
- Trucks make wide turns – if a truck is trying to make a turn, it is best for the motorist to slow down and give that truck room.
According to greatcdltraining.com, distraction was a contributing factor in 90 percent of crashes where someone died in 2010. If truckers and motorists work together, they can make the roads in Lucas County safe for everyone. If you have been injured in a truck accident, speak with an experienced attorney who can explain your legal options.