Tips to Avoid Truck Accidents

Jan 10

Any motor vehicle accident can lead to serious injuries, but accidents with commercial trucks are especially dangerous. Tractor-trailers are much bigger than passenger vehicles, and the collision’s force can obliterate smaller vehicles. Fortunately, the advice in this article can be used to reduce the chances of being in truck accidents.

If you were in a truck accident recently, you should get medical assistance as soon as possible, then talk to one of our truck accident attorneys for legal advice.


How Many Truck Accidents Happen Per Year?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states there were 510,000 crashing involving commercial trucks in a recent year. There were about 5,000 deaths and 119,000 injuries in those incidents. About 890 truckers died in truck accidents, and 1,645 passengers in other vehicles did not survive.

These are some of the deadliest accidents on the road, so you should do everything you can to avoid them. Below are some tips to avoid truck accidents, but unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, these crashes can still occur and cause serious injuries.


Give Trucks Plenty Of Room

Tractor-trailers can weigh 20 times more than passenger vehicles. Consequently, they take more space to turn and slow down after encountering a hazard. Also, tire blowouts happen frequently, so being too close to a tractor-trailer increases the chances of an accident. Keep these tips in mind when you are driving near commercial trucks:

  • Leave four or five seconds between you and the truck. You want to have plenty of time and space to maneuver if the truck slows or changes direction suddenly. Additionally, it is important to be able to see around the truck so you can see if there’s a hazard ahead.
  • Give the truck more space if it’s turning. Some big rigs need two lanes of extra room when making wide turns.
  • Never pass a truck on the right side; it’s harder for the driver to see you, and if the truck is turning, you could be jammed between the truck and the curb.


Avoid Blind Spots

Big rigs have larger blind spots than regular passenger vehicles because they are so big. You should stay away from these areas as much as possible:

  • 20 feet in front of the rig
  • 30 feet behind the tractor-trailer
  • Two lanes to the truck’s right
  • The vehicle’s side of the truck from the front of the cab to halfway down the trailer.

Always remember: If you can’t see the driver in his side mirrors, he probably cannot see you.


Pass Quickly But Safely

Trucks take longer to stop and maneuver than passenger vehicles, so if you need to pass, you should do it quickly and safely. Only pass the truck on the left; never try to pass when going up or downhill. Also, do not return to the lane in front of the truck until you can see the truck cab in your rearview mirror.


Beware When The Truck Is Turning

Trucks need more space to make turns, so be careful when the vehicle is turning, and you are next to it. It’s best not to be next to any tractor-trailer when they are turning; keep your distance to avoid accidents.


Avoid Heavy Truck Routes

We all must use highways and interstates to get where we need to go. However, if possible, try to avoid routes with the heaviest truck traffic. For example, I-65 is a major interstate that connects the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of tractor-trailers from the Chicago region go through Indianapolis and other parts of Indiana daily. Also, there is heavy truck traffic on I-70 and I-74. Try to stay off these busy interstates when you can. But if you need to share the road with trucks, give them more room and pass as quickly and safely as you can.


Let The Truck Pass

We often want to pass the slower-moving truck, but sometimes they may want to pass you. Let them. The sooner the truck passes and moves away from you, the safer you are.


Increase Following Distances

Trucks are larger, slower, and hard to see around. When you hang too close to a truck, you have less time to react if they suddenly slow down. You also cannot see around the rig easily. But you can avoid many problems by increasing your following distances to four or five seconds. Also, if you are too close and the truck slams on its brakes, you could rear-end the trailer, which is especially dangerous at high speeds.

Also, remember that trucks are prone to blowouts and being blown by wind gusts, so increasing your following distance can keep you safe from these problems.


Don’t Be Distracted

It’s never smart to be distracted and drive. But the penalty for being distracted when next to a truck is even higher than in other situations; the size and weight of the truck can cause a terrible accident. So, when you are driving on the road near a truck, make sure that you are not distracted by the following:

  • Phone calls and texts
  • Anything falling or rolling in the vehicle
  • Scenery or signs outside your window
  • Children, pets, or passengers
  • Food or drinks
  • Frustrations and negative emotions


Use Care When Pulling Over On The Highway

If you need to pull over when you are on the highway, be careful. Pull over as far as you can on the shoulder and turn on your blinkers. You should not be there any longer than necessary. A truck or other vehicle might not see and hit you. When you need to get back on, signal well in advance and wait until the road is clear before merging.


Don’t Drive Tired

It is never safe to drive when you have not had enough sleep. But many bad things can happen when you are on the road with many trucks. All it takes is to zone out for a few seconds, and you could slam into the back of a tractor-trailer and suffer severe injuries.

If you feel tired when you are driving, pull over at a rest stop, get out, and walk around. Get a cup of coffee. Sometimes just changing the scenery for a few minutes can be enough to wake you up.


Be Patient

We all know that trucks are bigger and slower than cars, but we can get impatient sometimes. Don’t tailgate trucks, honk at them, or drive aggressively. Doing these things won’t make them drive faster and will only frustrate others, potentially leading to accidents.


Never Cut Trucks Off

One of the most dangerous things you can do is to cut off a tractor-trailer and not give the driver enough room to slow down safely. Under regular driving conditions, a fully loaded truck going 55 MPH needs about 200 feet to come to a stop. If you cut the driver off and don’t give enough room, the truck could rear-end you, leading to a potentially deadly truck accident.

Give them much room if you need to merge into a lane with a truck. Also, leave more room for the truck when going at high speeds or when there are adverse weather conditions.


Wear Your Seatbelt

No matter who or what is on the road with you, driving with your seatbelt on is one of the most important ways to stay safe. A seatbelt will keep you strapped into your seat in a crash, which can be especially important if you are hit by a much larger vehicle.


Use Caution When Merging

Merging is one of the most dangerous things to do around a commercial truck. Truckers might not see you in front of them, so allow plenty of room if you need to merge in front of the truck. Or, wait until the truck is past before moving into the traffic lane.


Be Predictable

Many accidents happen because one driver doesn’t know or doesn’t understand what the other is doing. So, it’s important that your driving is predictable. This is even more critical when you’re near a truck. Always use your turn signals to tell the trucker what you are doing. Truckers need more time to slow down or change direction, so you can avoid accidents by showing the driver your intentions.


Contact Our Indiana Truck Accident Attorneys Today

Tractor-trailer accidents are more severe because of their size and weight. They also can be more complex; there could be several at-fault parties in the truck accident. Trying to sort out who was liable and who should pay could be complicated. Handling the claim or lawsuit alone will usually result in less compensation than you deserve. Instead, you should let an experienced truck accident attorney help.

Were you hurt in an Indiana truck accident? If the truck driver caused the incident, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Please contact one of our Indiana truck accident attorneys at Blackburn Romey today for a consultation.

Remember, you do not pay anything for the initial consultation. Nor will you pay legal fees upfront. You only pay legal expenses if the attorney wins your case.


Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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