The vast majority of trucking accidents that occur are the result of a careless mistake committed by truck drivers. According to the NTSB 62% of all truck accidents are the results of truck driver error. Licensed truck drivers have a range of issues that contribute to creating a dangerous environment for both them and the general driving public.
Most Common Reasons for Truck Accidents
There are many reasons for truck accidents to occur on our streets and highways. Here are several reasons why these accidents tend to happen.
- All truck drivers have deadlines. Delivering goods on tight delivery schedules can cause truck drivers to take unnecessary risks by either speeding to their delivery destination, or spending long hours behind the wheel with little or no sleep breaks.
- The weight of many of these trucks and the loads they carry can make driving these large rigs difficult to control. Also with their excessive weight, it can make stopping much more challenging, especially when traffic in front of them stops abruptly.
- Severe weather and changing weather patterns can cause many hazards on the road ways, from high winds, heavy rains, flooding and icy roads. These hazards can lead to dangerous situations on the roadways.
- Blind spots on these large trucks and 18 wheelers make other vehicles hard to spot when changing lanes.
- Slower traffic on our highways cause faster trucks to constantly change lanes. Speeding automobiles are also forced to pass other vehicles, creating difficult and dangerous driving conditions. Truck drivers at times do not leave enough space between vehicles for changing lanes or braking.
- Mechanical issues and defective tires can lead to undue stress on professional semi-truck drivers.
- Additionally, many large trucks can be rented by regular drivers without additional licensing or adequate training.
- Drivers getting distracted with smart phones and other electronic devices.
Truck Accident Injuries
Accidents that occur between a large semi-truck and other vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, pick-up trucks, RV’s, etc…) can cause catastrophic injuries or even death for drivers and passengers alike. The average semi-truck weighs 20-30 times more than a standard vehicle, dependent upon the load it is hauling. If a crash occurs between a semi-truck and a car the damage and destruction would be catastrophic. Cars and pick-up trucks are designed to withstand crashes with other cars, but nothing can withstand the force of tens of thousands of pounds of truck, traveling at even moderate speeds colliding with a car or smaller vehicle.
Tips to Avoid an Accident With a Semi-Truck
There are over 11 million semi-trucks operating in the U.S. Below are some driving tips car and motorcycle drivers should utilize when driving in close proximity to a truck, semi-truck or other commercial vehicle on our highways and roads.
- Never do what is called “drafting off” with a truck. Drafting means to follow very close to the rear-end of a truck to reduce gas consumption. If the truck stops suddenly your reaction time will be diminished.
- Semi-truck drivers have limited vision to the right side of their vehicle. When passing on the right be cautious.
- Always use turn signals to display your intentions to pass a truck or turn.
- Trucks have an average turn radius of 55ft. They need room to make turns, give them the room they need to safely turn.
- Never assume a semi-truck driver can see you. If you can’t see his mirrors, chances are he can’t see you.
- Never make a quick stop in front of a truck. Trucks need 40% longer time to stop than a car. You might be able to stop, however the truck behind you might not have enough room or time to avoid a collision.
What happens if a Semi-Truck is involved in an Accident?
Truck accident lawsuits have a unique set of circumstances that include several parties: the driver, the business, multiple companies (manufacturers) where mechanical failure might be the cause of the accident, insurance companies, lawyers representing the defendants, state and sometimes federal regulations.
Whenever a semi-truck is involved in an accident, the first thing the trucking company and/or insurance company does is dispatch professionally trained individuals to collect and review as much information as possible. The insurance agent will take photos of the accident and the vehicles involved. They will also document all relevant information regarding the area/road conditions where the accident occurred, any skid marks due to the accident, who presumably is at fault, etc. They will also receive a copy of the police report documenting their investigation. They will also review the mile logs and rest logs of the semi-truck driver. Depending on the severity of the accident they will also review the CDL qualifications.
If you have been involved in a Gainesville truck accident, only make statements about the accident to police and emergency personnel. If you are able too, take pictures of the accident and try to document as much information as you can. If you have been injured, get medical attention immediately.
Why Hire a Truck Accident Attorney in Gainesville?
Trucking accidents can be very complex. It is important that you seek legal advice of an experienced truck accident and injury attorney. Laurie Mitchell has been handling Gainesville truck accidents and injury cases for almost 30 years. Laurie is an attorney and nurse and she has the expertise and experience to handle serious injuries that result from trucking mishaps. Our consultations are free and you have no costs or fees unless we win money for you. Give us a call today at 352-371-9828.