Tips on Avoiding Accidents with Commercial Vehicles
How to Stay Safe While Sharing the Road with Large Commercial Trucks
If you’ve ever been delayed for hours on I-78, because of an overturned tractor-trailer, you have a sense of the destructive potential of a large truck accident. At Brach Eichler, our personal injury attorneys have represented many clients who suffered catastrophic injuries in commercial truck accidents. To keep you safe, we want to pass along some tips for sharing the road with tractor-trailers from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- Stay out of “No Zones” — Trucks have long blind spots, less maneuverability than passenger cars, and require a greater stopping distance. These facts create areas the FMCSA calls “no zones”: 20 feet ahead of the truck, 30 feet behind, and anywhere on the sides where the driver cannot see you. When you’re traveling alongside a tractor-trailer, a good thing to keep in mind is that if you can’t see the driver’s sideview mirror, the driver cannot see you. Never squat in the blind spot, but move quickly to a position where the driver can see you.
- Pass safely — Before passing, spend a few moments in a position where the truck driver can see you. Signal your intention, then move forward. Make sure you have sufficient space in front of the truck before moving into the lane. Never pass on truck on a downgrade, where it can pick up speed, and never pass on the right.
- Avoid close calls — Don’t cut off a truck by moving abruptly in front, and don’t tailgate a truck.
- Anticipate wide turns — When a big rig starts to turn right, anticipate that it’s going to need a lot of room on the left. Never try to squeeze by a truck in the act of turning.
- Be patient — Aggressive driving around big rigs can trigger an accident. Calm down and slow down.
It may put you at ease to know that commercial truck accidents are not as common as many people think. According to statistics from the Federal Highway Administration, there are about 11.5 million commercial trucks in operation throughout the United States, but in 2016, there were 3,864 fatal crashes involving large trucks. That works out to 1.34 fatal crashes for every 100 million miles of truck traffic. Of course, statistics cannot convey the anguish of the victims and their families. That’s why every driver must put safety first.
Brach Eichler handles personal injury lawsuits arising from accidents involving commercial vehicles, as well as wrongful death claims after fatal crashes. If you have questions about your rights in any such case, call us at 973-364-8300 or contact our office online.