With the holidays in full swing America’s roadways are busy with folks trying to get grandma’s house. Of course, holiday travelers are not the only ones attempting to get from point A to point B on a tight schedule. Commercial semi-tractor trailers are on the roadways as well. It is important for motorists to be aware of these large commercial vehicles as accidents involving a truck and a car are particularly dangerous. Nearly 80% of fatal car-truck crashes result in the occupants of the car being killed. Close to 7 of out every 10 fatal multi-vehicle accidents involving a car and a tractor-trailer, are estimated to have been caused by the driver of the car. Motorists can reduce their likelihood of being involved in a serious accident by educating themselves on how to share the roadways with large trucks. To ensure that you are safely sharing the roadways, keep in mind these facts about large commercial trucks:
- Trucks require more space: Large trucks, like 18 wheelers, have a greater turning radius than a normal sized vehicle. To be able to successfully navigate a turn, a truck will swing wide in the direction opposite of the turn before actually making the turn. Therefore, it is important that a motorist allow a truck extra space to maneuver. When a truck signals that it is about to make a turn a motorist should never try to position itself between a truck and the curb as the vehicle is likely to be pushed into the curb or hit. Large trucks also require more space when they are merging onto or exiting from the highway.
- Trucks require a greater breaking distance: Did you know that it takes a fully loaded semi-truck traveling at 55 mph around 300 feet to come to a complete stop, even under dry weather conditions? That is the equivalent distance of a football field minus the two end zones. This is why it is imperative to allow extra space when passing a large truck. Too often motorists make the mistake of cutting back in front of a truck too soon after passing and then slowing down. When a motorist passes a truck in this manner, it can interfere with the truck driver’s ability to see the car in time and not being able to slow down in time—which can result in the truck rear ending the car.
- Trucks have more and larger blind spots: Although large commercial trucks have mirrors, much like passenger vehicles, a truck still has large blind spots. A truck’s largest blind spot, and therefore, the most dangerous place for a motorist to be, is along the truck’s right side. Motorists should try to pass a truck on the left side whenever possible.
- A truck may be carrying hazardous materials: Commercials trucks alert other motorists if the truck is carrying hazardous contents by posting a sign on the rear of the truck. The trucks may be carrying flammable liquids such as gasoline, explosives such as dynamite or fireworks, or some other toxic substance. Although drivers who haul hazardous materials have received special training, it is a good idea to allow these driver’s even more space than you would a normal load-carrying truck.
- More susceptible to rollovers: Due to its higher center of gravity, a truck is more likely to rollover. A rollover of a large truck can be made even more dangerous if the truck is carrying hazardous materials.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident involving a truck, please contact The Handley Law Center at 405-295-1924. Our seasoned personal injury attorneys offer a free and completely confidential consultation. We also take the time you need to answer all of your questions and advise you of your legal options. You can trust the seasoned attorneys at the Handley Law Center to provide you with exceptional legal services.