American highways are full of big trucks hauling goods from one coast to the other. We need these trucks to supply our stores and provide us we the free two-day shipping we all love. However, these trucks also pose a danger to other vehicles on the road. They are big, with wide turn radiuses, and long stopping distances. They operate on a deadline, so they are always pushing the speed limits. Notoriously, drivers are exhausted after pulling long shifts on the road. Plus, these trucks can sometimes fall into poor repair due to the sheer number of miles they put in each day. To make matters worse, there are many of these trucks on the road at the same time, clogging lanes of traffic. All of these elements combine to create truck accidents. Here are a few of the most common type of trucking accidents and how to avoid them:
- Wide-Turn Accidents: Big trucks need to swing wide to make turns because of their length and generally poor turn radius. This means that if they are turning right, they may veer into the left lane to get the room they need to make the turn. If they are turning left, they may attempt to do so from the right lane on a four lane highway. You can avoid being hit by a wide-turning truck by being aware of this behavior. Watch for signal lights, and do not try to pass a truck as it slows to make a turn.
- Under-Ride Accidents: Under-ride occurs when a smaller vehicle is following a big truck and the big truck slows suddenly. If the driver of the smaller vehicle is not paying attention or if the stop is too sudden to avoid, the hood of the smaller vehicle will drive under the back of the big truck, sometimes getting lodged. This dangerous accident can be avoided by simply giving the big trucks more space. Do not follow closely and keep an eye out for brake lights so that you can be prepared in case of a quicker than expected stop.
- Jack-Knife Accidents: If a truck stops too quickly, the trailer can swing wide into other lanes of traffic. Oncoming vehicles may not have time to avoid the swinging trailer. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding being hit by a jackknifing truck, make sure that you never follow too closely. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times so that if you need to change lanes to avoid a crash with a big truck, you can avoid the other motorists around you.
- Blind-Spot Accidents: Blind spot accidents occur when a smaller vehicle is in a big truck’s blind spot and the truck merges into the smaller vehicle’s lane without seeing it. The best way to avoid this type of accident is to be aware that big trucks have big blind spots. Know that the truck driver may not see you when you are passing and spend as little time as possible in the blind spot. Never exceed a safe speed, but make sure that if you are passing a big truck that you do so quickly. Never ride next to a tractor trailer.
If you have been involved in a truck accident and are injured, reach out to a qualified truck accident lawyer to discuss your claim. An experienced personal injury truck accident attorney will be able to evaluate your case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.