Reducing Risk of Trucking Accidents
An average semi-truck weighs 80,000 pounds. Given that the average car weighs only 5,000 pounds, that means that colliding with a single truck is the impact-equivalent to colliding with 16 cars at once. Semi-trucks are involved in approximately 9% of fatal car-truck collisions. However, importantly, 80% of car-truck collisions are said to be caused by the driver of the car. This figure is supported by studies done at the University of Michigan Transportation Institute as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For this reason, it’s important to understand how to share the road safely with trucks and how to be responsible car drivers.
Tips for Drivers of Cars
- Give trucks plenty of space. It’s best to stay more than 30 feet in front and behind semi-trucks when possible. Due to their height, they often can’t see cars that are within the 20 feet in front of them. Additionally, if you’re on the driver’s side of the truck but more than half-way back, the driver will likely not be able to see you. The bumper sticker rule still holds true, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you.” So make sure you are able to see the driver’s mirror.
- Be smart when you need to pass a truck. First of all, don’t pass a truck if you have to—it’s an unnecessary risk if you’re just trying to weave your way through traffic. If you need to pass, leave as much space as possible between you and pass from the left whenever you can, as that will make it easier for the truck driver to see you. Avoid passing in front of a truck when going down a hill, as trucks may pick up momentum. Do not pass in front of a truck unless there is enough distance between you to see the truck driver in your rearview mirror.
- Always signal. Truck drivers are professional drivers and are usually happy to support you in making driving safer for them—if you give sufficient signaling time, truck drivers are likely to slow down or help you pass.
- Space is good for a lot of reasons. In addition to minimizing the likelihood of you ending up in a blind spot, it reduces your likelihood of suffering damage in the event that a truck tire blows out—one of the most common causes of damage by trucks. It’s also always a good idea to give trucks additional space in bad weather.
- Be conscientious. Always lower your brights when coming up behind a truck, as the bright lights in their large side-view mirrors can blind the drivers.
- Use common sense. Make sure to avoid distractions when driving, stay focused on the road, and be conscientious and aware of all surrounding drivers.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car or truck accident, it’s important to talk to a Columbia personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The experienced attorneys at The Stanley Law Group will assess your unique circumstances and determine how best to seek justice and financial retribution for your injury. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.