How To Reduce Semi Truck Accidents
If there’s one detail about driving that all motorists should keep in mind, it’s an activity requiring all drivers to do their part to keep our roadways safe here in Marion, IL. All motor vehicle operators, including passenger car drivers, motorcyclists, and truckers, must understand how their vehicles function and each other’s driving behaviors to accommodate each other better. Here at Prince Law Firm, we often see the aftermath of this lack of knowledge.
So many semi truck accidents happen because truckers don’t apply what they’ve learned about how their tractor-trailers function in the classroom when out on the road. Likewise, these truck accidents happen because motorists don’t take time to learn about how 18-wheelers function, which is information that could save their lives. This article will explore what all motorists should know to reduce semi truck accidents.
How Often Do Truck Accidents Occur?
At least 6.5% of all automobile accidents that occur involve tractor-trailers. Statistics show that an estimated 28% of the 388,000 truck collisions that happen each year in our country cause injuries, whereas 11% of those crashes claim someone’s life. All but 40% of the fatal truck accidents that occur are head-on ones.
Factors That Passenger Car Drivers Engage in That Cause Truck Accidents
Most truckers are dually licensed, meaning they have driver’s licenses that allow them to operate standard motor vehicles and commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) permitting them to operate an 18-wheeler. This means they should understand how both types of vehicles operate and the ins and outs of driving them. Passenger car drivers don’t necessarily have that insight, which leads them to drive in a way that results in truck accidents.
Some of those poor decisions may include:
Cutting in Too Close When Passing a Truck
Trucks can take longer to brake than passenger cars. Pulling in front of a truck too close may not give them ample enough opportunity to slow down to avoid crashing into you.
Tailgating a Semi-Truck
While it’s never a good idea to ride very close to the rear of any vehicle, it’s particularly dangerous to ride up very close to a truck’s bumper. If you’re tailgating them and they suddenly brake, then you run the risk of becoming entangled in an underride accident.
Not Giving a Truck Enough Space To Complete Their Turn
Many motorists don’t realize how wide of a right turn trucks must make to avoid striking objects around them. It’s best if passenger car drivers scan the roadway ahead and anticipate turns like these. Doing so will help them notice a trucker that’s preparing to turn so that they can avoid a collision.
Minding Blind Spots
Passenger car operators often get struck by truckers because they assume that a tractor-trailer operator can see them when they cannot. Motorists must know that it’s no mistake that warning labels on trailers say that if they can’t see themselves in the trucker’s side mirrors, the tractor-trailer operator can’t see them, either.
A semi truck’s blind spots can extend a significant portion of the truck and trailer’s body and for some distance in front and behind it. Crush incidents involving passenger cars and pedestrians often occur because they assume a trucker sees them, yet they don’t because they’re in their blind spot.
How Truckers Can Minimize Tractor-Trailer Accident Rates
While passenger car drivers’ actions cause some tractor-trailer crashes, there are plenty of situations in which truckers’ actions (or lack thereof) result in preventable collisions. Most of those happen because they engage in negligence, such as:
- Failing to perform pre-trip inspections to verify that their trucks are roadworthy
- Not getting enough rest before setting out on their trips or taking breaks if they feel tired while on the road
- Driving while under the influence of prescription or illicit drugs or alcohol
- Not following the rules of the road, including engaging in reckless driving tactics
- Allowing distractions, such as using their cell phones to talk, text, or surf the internet while driving down the road
Dangers Associated With Truckers Speeding
In terms of the latter, speeding is a major concern among truckers. Many tractor-trailer operators are subjected to pressure from their employers, or the deadlines imposed by their customers to get deliveries made on time.
If a trucker encounters traffic, road construction, or is slowed down by bad weather, they may attempt to make up for lost time by speeding to get to their final destination on time. Pay-per-mile instead of a pay-for-time payment structure may also lead truckers to speed.
The reason why speeding among truckers is so dangerous is because of how tractor-trailer braking works. It takes truckers much longer to come to a full stop once they apply their brakes than it does for passenger car operators. Depending on the speed a trucker is traveling at the time they brake, it could cause a jackknife, side rollover, or crash in which they lose control and travel into oncoming traffic.
Additionally, there may be a sudden shifting of a load depending on how well-secured it is in the trailer. Heavy loads may result in a much higher impact crash than an empty semi-truck would cause. Front-impact or rear-end collisions tend to cause significant passenger car occupant injuries or wrongful deaths.
Sorting Out Liability in Your Truck Accident Case
Illinois is an at-fault auto insurance state, meaning motorists injured in crashes can generally file an insurance claim against the motorist at fault for striking them. A truck accident victim’s ability to recover compensation is contingent upon their ability to prove that a trucker owed them a duty of care and breached it, thus resulting in their injuries.
Modified comparative negligence rules also apply in this state, meaning that an injured motorist here in Marion, IL can only recover compensation if they weren’t deemed 50% or more liable for the crash. This rule also reduces a car accident victim’s recovery by the percentage they were at fault for the crash.
Know that you have rights if a trucker didn’t do their part to reduce semi truck accidents from occurring. It’s best that you watch what you say and do after having a truck accident if you wish to be eligible to recover maximum compensation in your case. You can count on our legal team at Prince Law Firm to advise you on how to preserve your rights as you navigate the truck accident claims process in your case. Contact us now to schedule your free initial consultation so we can start building your Marion case now.