Tractor-trailer accidents are often severe and far too common in Michigan. Many truck accidents happen because of the driver’s or employer’s negligence, and if that happens, you could receive compensation in a lawsuit. However, it is possible to avoid certain truck accidents by increasing your awareness near these large highway vehicles. Learn about safe driving around trucks below, then speak to our Detroit truck accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates if you think have a case.
Commercial Vehicles Have Significant Operating Limitations
Be aware when you drive near tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles that they have significant operating limitations that can make them more dangerous than other vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks have larger blind spots, longer stopping distances, and less maneuverability than smaller vehicles. So, you must focus more on safety when around these massive vehicles.
Truck Blind Spots
Large trucks have much bigger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Blind spots are significant on the sides, front, and behind the truck. Remember when driving near a truck that the driver cannot see you if you cannot see him in his side mirrors. If you are in the truck’s blind spot, he may not see you and try to move into your lane, which could cause a terrifying accident.
If the driver moves into your lane because he did not see you, he could be at fault for the accident, depending on the circumstances. But you can do your part by reducing the chances of these accidents by staying out of truckers’ blind spots as much as possible.
Trucks Take Much Longer To Stop
A significant cause of truck accidents is when a passenger vehicle moves into the truck’s lane too soon, cutting the driver off. The truck takes much longer to slow down than a car, so if you cut in front of the truck too soon, the huge rig could slam into you. The truck may weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and that mass takes several seconds longer to slow down than a 4,000-pound car. Also, trucks have air brakes that take longer to activate than passenger vehicle hydraulic brakes.
You can avoid major accidents in this situation by giving the truck plenty of room before moving over. Wait until you see the entire truck cab in your rearview mirror, then signal and move into the truck’s lane.
You also should avoid passing a truck on a downgrade when they usually increase speed and never pass on the right lane. Truckers are taught to look for passing traffic in the left lane.
If a truck is passing you, keep to the right lane and slow down a bit so they can get around. Helping the driver pass can keep you and your family safe, so it is worth slowing down.
Tailgating Is Dangerous
Tailgating a tractor-trailer is always dangerous because the driver cannot see you. Also, trucks are higher off the road, and if you cannot stop in time, you could slam into the end of the trailer and be seriously injured or killed. Being too close to the back of the trailer is dangerous when stopped; the truck could roll backward if traffic stops on an upgrade.
Trucks Take Wider Turns
A commercial truck must swing wide to make turns. Sometimes, the truck may even need to start the turn from the middle lane. If you see a truck with its turn signal on, do not try to squeeze by or get between the truck and the curb.
If you stop at an intersection, do not ‘block the box’ or go past the stop line. If a truck comes along and needs to turn, your vehicle could be in its way.
Patience Is Required Around Trucks
Always remember that trucks are much larger and heavier and have operating restrictions. The truck could be equipped with a speed limiter, too, so aggressive driving, honking, or cutting off the truck does not help the situation. Dangerous driving behaviors around trucks only lead to more severe accidents. It is always better to arrive at your destination safely a few minutes later than to get into a deadly truck accident.
What If You Are In A Truck Accident?
Even driving carefully around trucks cannot prevent every accident. If the worst happens and a large truck hits you, there are several things to do to protect your health and potential legal options later:
Get Immediate Medical Attention
Your health is the most critical matter after a truck crash. When a huge rig slams into your passenger vehicle, serious injuries are likely. You should always call 911 and get to the emergency room to be looked over. You could have a severe head or internal injury and not know about it initially.
Report The Truck Accident
You must report auto accidents in Michigan with injuries, deaths, or property damage over $1,000. A truck accident will probably have at least one, so always call the police to report the crash.
Document The Accident Scene
The trucking company will send accident investigators immediately to aid their case. You can help yours, if you are physically able, by taking photos and videos of the crash scene. Also, get images of your injuries, vehicle damages, vehicle positions, and the surrounding area. These videos and photos could be vital to filing a personal injury lawsuit later.
Speak To A Truck Accident Attorney
You should never attempt to handle a truck accident injury case alone. Trucking companies employ aggressive attorneys and insurance companies, and you need a tough, proven litigator to protect your rights and interests.
Contact Our Detroit Truck Accident Lawyers Now
Every year, far too many people in Michigan are injured by negligent truck drivers. If you prove that the trucker or employer was responsible for the accident, you could receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Our Detroit truck accident lawyers at Ravid & Associates are dedicated to securing damages for our injured clients. Call (248) 948-9696 to discuss potential legal options with one of our truck accident attorneys.
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.