When you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights and responsibilities, to help bring justice for your suffering and compensation to your pain. The team of personal injury professionals at Murphy & Pressentin can help you recover monetary compensation for the losses to you and your family. We also bring you the following safe driving tips to help you avoid future disasters with big trucks.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING TIPS AROUND BIG TRUCKS
The carnage from truck-related accidents has been on the rise. In 2013, 3,541 wrecks killed 3,964 people – an increase of 17.3% from 2009. In 2014, the number of deaths from truck accidents was down slightly, but the total numbers of crashes and injuries increased. Having an accident with a big rig almost always leads to injuries.
Here are 5 very basic defensive driving safety tips which should be followed when driving near commercial trucks on our roadways. If you discipline yourself to follow these 5 rules each time you drive, you will become a safer driver and reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. The key is self-discipline, as anytime you violate one of these rules you are putting yourself and everyone around you at risk.
1. GIVE BIG RIGS LOTS OF ROOM!
You shouldn’t crowd a tractor-trailer, being close to a semi is a terrible place to be.
Tire blowouts are common. Everyone has seen large chunks of rubber on our freeways. That rubber is from a blown tire from a big rig. Most loaded trucks can legally weigh 80,000 pounds or more. This weight stresses tires and they are ticking time bombs. You don’t want to get caught next to a truck when a tire blows and shards of heavy rubber start flying at you. There is also a good chance that the trucker will begin swerving when this happens.
Trucks are like sails.Just because trucks are heavy, doesn’t mean they’re immune from being blown around by the wind. Trucks carry a huge amount of surface area and this creates a “sail-like” effect that makes a truck very difficult to control. The end result is unexpected drifts into your lane.
Blind spots are everywhere! The number and size of blind spots in a big rig is insane. The passenger sides of a big truck has a far larger blind spot than the driver’s side, so use proper truck safety techniques and always try to pass on the left. Hurry up and get ahead of the truck . . . don’t dilly dally around. The trucker may not even know you’re there, and God forbid the driver makes a quick lane change or swerves to avoid a hazard.
2. PROPERLY PASS A LARGE TRUCK
When passing a big rig, try to pass as quickly as possible and hug the outside part of the lane. Because of the blind spot, pass on the left whenever possible. Practice good truck safety tips and give them much more room than you give regular cars. It can take a fully loaded rig the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop from 60 mph. It’s dangerous to cut abruptly in front of a large truck when passing. Don’t take chances, give truckers as much room as possible.
3. BEWARE OF TURNING TRUCKS
We’ve all seen the “WIDE TURNS” warning stickers on tractor-trailers. There’s a reason for them, as truck drivers often need to use multiple lanes to make these difficult maneuvers and avoid clipping sign posts, electrical poles and pedestrians standing on the corner. As the trucker begins the turn, they will often swing wide to the opposite side of their turn. Trying to squeeze past a turning truck is one of the largest forms of accidents involving trucks. What’s more, as the trucker turns all the driver can see in the side view mirror is the trailer. Never pass a turning semi on the side that the truck is turning to.
4. STAY AWAY FROM AGGRESSIVE TRUCK DRIVERS
Aggressive truck driving is one of the most common causes of big rig and commercial vehicle accidents. Fully loaded trucks weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and require more stopping distance than the average commuter vehicle. As a result, truck drivers are required to make sure they leave plenty of room between their vehicle and the cars in front of them. Commercial drivers work long hours under stressful conditions and it often makes them more prone to tailgating, speeding, making sudden maneuvers or trying to get another driver’s attention. These things put truckers at greater risk of causing an accident. If you see a trucker driving erratically or tailgating, stay as far back as possible and notify the authorities. Tailgating truckers are much more likely to cause a serious accident when traffic stops abruptly.
5. BEWARE OF FATIGUED TRUCKERS
For decades, mounting evidence has shown that sleep apnea, a common disorder, can cause perilous levels of fatigue in drivers who need to remain alert at work. The airways of people who suffer from apnea close repeatedly while they sleep, interrupting their breathing dozens of times per hour. They don’t often notice the interruptions, but it leaves them exhausted and prone to doze off during the day. Behind the wheel of a large speeding vehicle, the results are predictably catastrophic.
The NTSB lists sleep apnea as a problem across the transportation industry. Since 2008 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recommended that drivers get checked for the condition and treated if necessary. The riskm of apnea rises dramatically with weight gain, and approximately two-thirds of all truck drivers are believed to be obese and more likely to be overweight than workers in other fields. Extensive research links sleep deprivation to heightened crash risk; even moderate tiredness can impair a driver as much as being legally intoxicated. Truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea are five times more likely to crash than their colleagues.