Getting in a commercial truck accident is frightening and expensive and sometimes cannot be avoided. However, there are ways to reduce your odds of being hit by a tractor-trailer. This article describes effective defensive driving techniques to avoid some of these incidents. If you have questions about a truck crash, our Detroit truck accident lawyers can assist you today.
What Are Common Causes Of Detroit Semi-Truck Accidents?
Many things can go wrong when a truck driver drives a semi-truck. Most truck crashes are caused by driver error, and common reasons for these accidents are:
Truck drivers drive long hours, and sometimes they will drive more than federal hours-of-service laws allow. Engaging in this illegal activity can result in truck driver drowsiness, significantly increasing the chances of a truck crash. Driver fatigue reduces the driver’s ability to control the rig, impairs judgment, lowers reaction times, and prevents them from making sound driving decisions.
Sometimes drivers fall asleep behind the wheel because of drug use, too. Federal trucking regulations require commercial trucking companies to test their drivers for drug and alcohol use regularly.
Truck Driver Mistakes
Like anyone on the road, truck drivers can make driving mistakes that lead to crashes. Unfortunately, when a truck driver blunders, the consequences can be devastating. After all, a fully loaded semi-truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, so the resulting impact with a 4,000-pound car can cause severe and fatal injuries.
Truck Equipment Issues
Equipment and mechanical failure is another common cause of truck wrecks. Whether it is defective tires, brakes or not having a functioning backup warning system, manufacturing issues can cause truck crashes.
Also, not correctly maintaining the rig can cause many truck crashes. Some of the most common maintenance errors that lead to accident-causing mechanical issues are:
- Not maintaining the brakes
- Defective steering system
- Not changing or maintaining tires, which causes blowouts
- Not attaching the trailer correctly, which raises the chance of a jackknife accident
Other causes of semi-truck crashes are inclement weather, bad road design, reckless driving, and inoperable traffic signals. Whatever the cause of your truck accident, have a Detroit truck accident attorney review your case promptly. They will investigate the incident and inform you if there is a chance of financial recovery.
How To Avoid Truck Crashes
If a driver is negligent, sometimes a crash with a commercial truck is unavoidable. However, experience shows that defensive driving can often help drivers avoid a run-in with a commercial truck. Here are some critical safety tips:
Stay Out Of The Trucker’s Blind Spots
Tractor trailers have larger blind spots than regular passenger vehicles. This means the driver will have additional difficulty seeing you in certain situations. Remember, if you cannot see the driver’s face in their side mirrors, they cannot see you. When you drive near a big rig, you should avoid these areas:
- Anything less than 20 feet in front of the tractor-trailer
- Anything less than 30 feet behind the truck trailer
- Two lane widths on the right side of the trailer
Always Use Turn Signals
Commercial trucks are enormous and heavy, requiring more room and time to negotiate traffic. Passenger vehicle drivers must use turn signals when changing lanes around these vehicles. Your turn signals alert the driver of your intentions and provide additional time to adjust so you can stay clear of each other.
Give More Distance Between You And The Truck
Many passenger vehicle drivers treat trucks like smaller vehicles, including driving too close to them. This is a mistake that can cause a fatal crash. Experts recommend driving at least four or five seconds behind a truck to give yourself more time to react to sudden situations.
Never Drive Distracted
It is never wise to drive distracted because of a cell phone, radio, passenger conversation, etc. But removing your focus from the road can be deadly around a semi-truck. Stay alert when driving near large trucks to reduce the risk of an accident.
The longer you are close to a tractor-trailer, the greater the chances of a mishap. This means you should pass trucks quickly but according to traffic laws. When you are next to a truck in traffic, increase your speed steadily to pass the truck. Do not move into the truck’s lane until you can see the truck’s entire cab in your rearview mirror. But you should not attempt to pass a truck when it is turning right or left because they make wide turns. The driver may not see you during the turn.
Do Not Overestimate A Truck’s Stopping Ability
One of the most dangerous truck accidents is when a big rig rear-ends a smaller vehicle. This severe accident can cause a devastating crash that could rupture the car’s fuel tank. So, keep in mind that trucks cannot stop on a dime. You should never cut a truck driver off and give them plenty of space when you change into their lane. Also, the stopping distance for a fully loaded big rig at 65 MPH is at least 500 feet. This is almost 200 feet more than a passenger vehicle, so bear this in mind as you maneuver around large trucks.
Staying safe around trucks means being predictable. The result can be catastrophic when the trucker does not know your intentions and guess wrong. Obey traffic laws, pay attention to road signs, and stay at or below the speed limit. Doing these things allows the trucker to predict where you will be, which will reduce the chances of a terrible crash because of poor visibility, blind spots, or unanticipated driving maneuvers.
Contact Our Detroit Truck Accident Attorneys
Were you in a recent truck accident in Detroit? You probably have severe injuries and a wrecked vehicle, so contact our Detroit truck accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C., at (248) 948-9696. Truck crashes can result in hundreds of thousands in medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, and the help of an attorney is vital. You should not attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company because it is unlikely to look out for your injuries’ short- and long-term costs.