Sharing the road with a tractor-trailer is a nerve-wracking experience for many drivers — and for good reason. A tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, at least 30 times more than the average car. When crashes happen, the outlook for motorists in the smaller car is bleak. In fact, the vast majority of those injured and killed in U.S. truck accidents are the occupants of the other vehicle, not the tractor-trailer drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that there were 4,237 fatal tractor-trailer accidents nationwide last year. There were 102,000 injury crashes. These figures are the highest they’ve been in a decade. For that reason, it’s never been more important to learn how to avoid tractor-trailer wrecks.
Tips for Avoiding Truck Accidents
Here’s what you need to know:
Stay out of the “No Zone”
There are several areas the drivers need to avoid when traveling alongside a commercial truck. These spots are called the “No Zone” and include:
- Its blind spots: Two of the blind spots are on the side of the truck, just like a regular driver’s. The difference is that the truck’s blind spots are bigger, especially on the right side.
- Directly behind the truck: Tractor-trailers have no rearview mirrors. That means that operators have no way of spotting motorists who are driving directly behind them, especially if they are following too closely. This increases the chances of deadly underride accidents if the truck has to brake suddenly.
- Straight in front of the tractor-trailer: According to FMCSA, the operator of a fully-loaded truck driving in good conditions will need a distance the length of two football fields to stop. Driving directly in front of the truck puts motorists at risk of serious override accidents if they need to hit the brakes in an emergency.
Don’t Make Sudden Lane Changes
Due to a tractor-trailer’s sizeable blind spots, you need to drive predictably. Don’t weave in and out of traffic. When making lane changes, be sure to use your turn signal and wait a few seconds to give the trucker enough time to see you.
In addition, you should allow extra space between your car and the tractor-trailer. Where the two-second rule might be enough time to respond to an unexpected circumstance involving another car, it’s a good idea to allow five to eight seconds between your vehicle and a tractor-trailer.
Remember That Trucks Have a Wider Turning Radius
It’s not easy for trucks to make tight turns, especially on city streets. In some cases, the trucker may need to swing out wide in order to make the turn without striking another vehicle or riding on the sidewalk, putting both drivers and pedestrians at risk. Do your part to avoid a crash by not trying to zoom past a turning truck. Give the driver time to negotiate the turn carefully to keep everyone safe.
Injured in a Tractor-Trailer Accident?
Most truck drivers are responsible and do their best to avoid crashes. But sometimes, carelessness — either on the part of the trucker, truck driver, cargo loader, or another party — can lead to tractor-trailer accidents in South Carolina and North Carolina. If you were injured in a truck accident, it’s important to get advice from a skilled truck accident attorney.
Talk to Stewart Law Offices today. Our hardworking lawyers have years of experience representing people who have been harmed or lost a family member in truck accidents in the Carolinas. If you’ve been hurt, you can count on our law firm to push for full and fair compensation for your losses.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation.