PREVENTING TRUCK CRASHES: HOW TO AVOID COLLIDING WITH A TRACTOR-TRAILER

Safe driving with trucks

Over 15 million trucks operate on U.S. highways, of which about 2 million are tractor-trailers. Class 8 trucks alone, which include all tractor-trailers, logged nearly 140 billion miles in 2006. Given the large number of rigs being operated and the many miles driven, accidents are inevitable.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks were involved in over 270,000 crashes in 2011, resulting in more than 3,700 deaths and 88,000 injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that, of the deaths, 72 percent were occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash, usually a passenger car. Only 17 percent were occupants of the truck. Avoiding a collision with a tractor-trailer truck in the first place is therefore the best course of action.

Tips for Avoiding Collisions with Tractor-Trailers

State Farm Insurance advises motorists to take the following steps to avoid colliding with a tractor-trailer:

Stay out of the truck’s blind spots, or “no zones,” located at the rear and side of the truck, and at the connecting point between the tractor and trailer (as a rule of thumb, “if you can’t see the driver in his side mirror, he can’t see you”)

Give a tractor-trailer making a turn a wide berth to avoid getting caught in its blind spot

Keep a safe distance behind a tractor-trailer, which is between 20 and 25 car lengths

Allow even more distance behind a tractor-trailer on uphill climbs and in adverse climate conditions, such as snow, rain and high winds

Always use turn signals when passing a rig

In an emergency pull completely off the road, place flares or hazard lights at both ends to warn approaching traffic, and then move as far away from your vehicle as possible

What Not To Do When Driving on Highways with Tractor-Trailer Traffic

The National Driving School of Taylorsville, Utah, and State Farm recommend that motorists avoid the following actions while driving around large trucks, including tractor-trailers:

Never cut off a truck in traffic or on the highway, even if you have to miss your exit or turn

Do not change lanes abruptly

Do not linger alongside a truck while passing

Do not speed

Never follow a truck too closely or tailgate

Never underestimate the size and speed of an approaching tractor-trailer

Most of these recommendations simply require obeying the rules of the road. Violation of these safety rules is negligence per se, meaning proof of the violation is all that is required to show the driver’s negligence. Drivers should not open themselves up to legal liability by violating traffic laws, much less invite personal danger to themselves.

What If I Am In An Accident With A Tractor-Trailer?

As the above statistics show, collisions of tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks with passenger cars frequently result in death or serious injury to the car’s occupants. If you are injured in a truck accident, or if you lose a loved one in a truck crash, contact an experienced, truck accident attorney, who can obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries or loss.

View Our Testimonials Announcement

Norman H. Jackson, Utah Court of Appeals Judge, Retired, has joined the law firm of Robinson, Seiler & Anderson, LC, effective April 2017.  Judge Jackson was one of the seven founding Judges of the Utah Court of Appeals and served terms as Presiding and Associate Presiding Judge.
 
Judge Jackson was the senior attorney in a Richfield law firm for eighteen years.  The firm engaged in legal, business and tax cases, including practice before State and Federal Courts, U.S. Board of Land Appeals, Utah Public Service Commission and Arizona Corporation Commission.  Clients included counties, cities, banks department stores, communications and credit associations, irrigation companies, auto dealers, building supply stores, farmers, ranchers and small businesses. They took “every type of case that came through the door,” from criminal defense work to a patent royalty dispute for the inventor of the Frisbee. Judge Jackson has been a lifetime rancher doing business in Utah as Jackson Cattle Company and Arizona as EJ Cattle Ranches.
 
Judge Jackson’s professional service includes terms on the Utah State Bar Commission, Bar Foundation (President and Vice President), Air Travel Commission, and Utah Information Technology Commission.  He served on the Judiciary’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee for thirteen years and initiated and supervised the Appellate Court Mediation Office.  He developed and advanced a realistic and workable framework for both of Utah’s Appellate Courts to use in reviewing trial court and administrative agency decisions.  He published three editions of Utah Standards of Appellate Review while participating in more than 2,000 appellate court decisions.  
 
Judge Jackson’s experience will complement the other outstanding lawyers at Robinson, Seiler & Anderson, LC.  The firm will continue its representation of injured individuals, as well as clients in real estate, business, estate planning, tax, contract and education matters.
 

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