Large Trucks: How to Stay Safe on the Highway

As businesses and tourist attractions begin to reopen, more and more people are thinking about their summer vacation plans. If you’re planning a classic American road trip, remember to stay safe on the highways, especially around large trucks. Thousands of people die every year in large truck accidents and, unfortunately, even the smallest collision can be deadly. 

STATISTICS ON TRUCK ACCIDENTS

The following information comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 2018 (the most recent year data is available): 

  • 499,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks.
  • 4,415 of those crashes were fatal.
  • 107,000 resulted in injury.
  • 57% of all fatal large truck crashes occur in rural areas and on interstate highways.
  • 36% of all fatal crashes, 23 % of all injury crashes, and 19% of all property damage only crashes involving large trucks occurred at night (6:00 pm to 6:00 am).
  • 83% of fatal crashes and 88% of nonfatal crashes involving large trucks occurred on weekdays (Monday through Friday).

HOW YOU CAN STAY SAFE

Large vehicles, including trucks and buses, have big blind stops, long stopping distances, and limited maneuverability. Therefore, it is imperative that other drivers exercise safety when driving around large vehicles. The Federal Highway Administration offers the following ten rules of the road when driving around large trucks and buses:

  1. Stay Out of the No Zones. The no zones are considered the “blind spots” of a large vehicle, including directly in front of, behind, and to the side of a large truck. The safest rule of thumb is: if you can’t see the driver in the side mirror, assume the driver can’t see you.
  2. Pass Safely. Use signals, leave plenty of space.
  3. Don’t Cut It Close. Never “cut off” a large truck. Even if you remain visible, it may take the truck a long time to stop or slow down in its efforts to avoid hitting your vehicle.
  4. Stay Back. Tailgating a truck or bus puts you in a blind spot (see #1) and at higher risk for sliding under a truck in a crash.
  5. Anticipate Wide Turns. Some large trucks need extra space to turn.
  6. Be Patient. Trucks and buses are slower to both accelerate and decelerate.
  7. Buckle Up. Always use a safety belt.
  8. Stay Focused. If you need to eat, text, take a phone call, etc., pull off the road and stop. Distracted driving is just as dangerous as impaired driving.
  9. Don’t Drive Fatigued. Take breaks, take turns, and/or find a place to rest.
  10. Never Drive Under the Influence. Alcohol, drugs, and prescription drugs can all contribute to impaired judgement and slower reaction times.

HIRE AN ATTORNEY
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you might be entitled to carry out legal action. Contact a truck accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, like the law offices of Kamper & Estrada, PLLC, for a free one-hour initial consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys.