How to Avoid Tractor Trailer Accidents

A tractor-trailer can weigh 30 times more than the average car, which is why a crash is often devastating to occupants of smaller vehicles. In 2019, nearly 157,000 large trucks were involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, it is possible to avoid a truck accident. Here are steps that truck drivers and motorists can take to protect their safety. In fact, most accidents are preventable.

Tips for Truck Drivers

If you are a commercial truck driver, it’s important to apply everything covered in training throughout your work day. The best accident prevention tips include:

  • Take Your Time: Every move should be slow and methodical. This includes when you’re maneuvering a drop yard, enter or leave a truck stop, or are en route to a new customer. Backing into loading docks is when a lot of accidents occur, so it’s important to do so slowly (speed contributes to many truck accidents).
  • Be Attentive: Always perform a pre-trip inspection. A number of addressable safety issues can contribute to an accident. While operating the truck, always check your blind spots before moving, turning, changing lanes, etc. Stay aware of what’s around the entire vehicle, not just the front. Following a routine helps do things in the same order each time, so no steps are forgotten.
  • Plan Your Trip: For truck drivers, locating and navigating a new destination can be stressful. Check the customer’s location on a map or GPS beforehand. With a little trip planning, you can reduce stress and have fewer distractions on the road. Be sure to keep a road map handy and don’t be ashamed to call the customer for directions first; this gives you another point of reference to reduce the risk of mistakes.

Tips for Motorists

Motor vehicles are often inadvertently the cause of truck accidents. Being smaller, cars are more difficult to see under most circumstances. You can avoid an accident, potential injuries, or a semi truck accident lawsuit by following these tips:

  • Be Where the Truck Driver Can See You: Semi trucks have what are called “No Zones”. These include the blind spots on the side of the truck, the area directly behind the truck (don’t follow too closely), or right in front of the tractor trailer.
  • Understand the Limitations of a Truck: Being larger and heavier, a semi truck requires a longer stopping distance. Staying further away can prevent an accident if the truck brakes suddenly. Semis also have a wider turning radius and may have to swing out before making the turn. Don’t speed past a turning truck; allow them time to safely complete the turn before you pass.
  • Don’t Change Lanes Suddenly: Large blind spots make it harder for truck drivers to see your car. Use your turn signal a few seconds before making a lane change, so the driver can see you. Avoid weaving in and out of traffic. The goal is to be more predictable, so a truck driver can anticipate your moves and make more careful decisions.
  • Don’t Cut in Front of a Truck: Never cut ahead suddenly, as the truck requires more stopping distance. If you can’t keep up speed, the semi can’t decelerate fast enough to avoid a collision.
  • Exercise Caution If Pulling Over on the Highway: If you must pull over between exits, find a designated stopping point or a wide shoulder. Otherwise, a truck could sideswipe you. Semis are known to swerve onto road shoulders from time to time.
  • Let the Truck Pass: If you have the right of way and a truck is trying to pass you, don’t let it get to your head. Let the truck get in front. Trying to take control of the situation yourself (especially with road rage) can put you in great danger.
  • Don’t Hesitate When Passing: Make sure there’s enough space ahead of the truck to pass it safely, and make your move quickly. If you’re beside the truck for an extended amount of time, you risk being hit if it swerves or being involved in an accident caused by a rollover or tire blowout.
  • Stay Alert: Distracted driving, such as using the phone, car radio, or anything that takes your eyes of the road, is a leading cause of accidents. Don’t drive while fatigued either; it reduces reaction time and attentiveness. Also, be aware of weather conditions. If inclement weather is predicted, adjust your plan accordingly, and wait out any storm that pops up.

Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani

We are familiar with the common causes of truck accidents and the types of injuries motorists are likely to sustain. These injuries can be life altering, require years of treatment, and may result in permanent disability. The insurance companies can make getting a fair settlement difficult. But our Los Angeles personal injury attorney has experience negotiating with them and is familiar with all relevant laws. If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, let us handle your semi truck accident lawsuit. Call 888-912-7115 to set up your free consultation.

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