Large trucks are involved in hundreds of thousands of accidents each year nationally, resulting in over 100,000 injuries and approximately 5,000 fatalities. More than 80% of the time, those suffering fatalities in trucking accidents are drivers and passengers of other vehicles rather than the occupants of the big rig truck.
Commercial trucks are large vehicles that require more time to slow down, speed up, and maneuver on the roadways. Those sharing the roads with big rigs need to be extra cautious to keep from colliding with them and becoming seriously injured.
Here are five ways to avoid an accident with a big rig in Maryland:
- Be Alert on the Road
It should go without saying that motorists need to be paying attention not only when sharing the road with a large commercial truck, but whenever they are driving. Unfortunately, distracted driving is nearing epidemic proportions. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that just under 400,000 people were injured and nearly 4,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. Refrain from texting at all while driving, and if you absolutely must talk on your phone, make sure to do so only when it is in “hands free” mode. It is not worth risking a life just to send a text.
- Stay Out of the Trucker’s Blind Spots
There are approximately one million motor vehicle accidents a year that are the result of failure to see a vehicle that enters a motorist’s blind spot. Big rig trucks are even more susceptible to this type of accident, because they have several blinds spots where a car could enter. Do your best to stay out of the truck driver’s blind spots as much as possible. Sometimes, you cannot avoid entering the blind spot briefly while passing the vehicle. If you must pass the truck, do so as quickly as you can (while staying safe and within the speed limit), and never remain in their blind spot for longer than you have to.
- Give the Truck Plenty of Space
As mentioned earlier, big rigs require a large amount of space to maneuver on the roads. And if you get too close to them, there is a greater risk of something going seriously wrong. For example, you could encounter rain or ice, the truck could have a tire blowout, or some of its cargo might not be fully secured and it could start flying out of the back. Stay a safe distance behind the truck to allow them enough room to react safely to any adverse conditions they may encounter.
- Do NOT Attempt to Pass the Truck while it is Turning
Picking up on the previous point, big rig trucks need time and space to make a turn. If you try to pass the truck while they are turning, you may be in for trouble. When a semi-truck has their blinker on, be patient and give them the space and time they need to complete the turn.
- Use Caution when Merging into Traffic with a Big Rig
When you are merging into traffic with a large truck alongside you, you need to be extra careful to make sure you are both able to safely blend in with the rest of the vehicles. When traffic is heavy and slow, this can become an even more hazardous situation. During heavy traffic, it may be best to let the truck merge in ahead of you, because if you try to pass them and suddenly have to slow down, they may have a hard time slowing down in response.
When you Do Everything Right and Still End up in a Big Rig Accident
Even when you follow all the rules and best practices, truck accidents can still happen. This could be due to poor driving conditions, truck driver negligence, undue pressure by trucking companies, poorly maintained vehicles, faulty vehicle parts, or a combination of factors. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney, so you understand your rights and options.
At Grabo Law, LLC, we have in-depth experience successfully representing victims injured in commercial trucking accidents. Attorney Robert Grabo has extensive knowledge of the complexities of these types of cases, and what it takes to ensure that victims are fully compensated and those responsible (for these accidents) are held accountable.
For a free consultation with Attorney Grabo, call our office at 301-938-7652 or send us a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.