Living in the greater DC area, we are in the middle of some of the busiest roads in the country. To be certain, there is quite a bit of traffic traveling through our area at any given time. Much of this traffic consists of large trucks – tractor trailers – that are hauling heavy loads of goods up and down the eastern corridor. Many people are wary of driving alongside of these behemoth vehicles, especially those of us in small vehicles, and with good reason. Accidents involving trucks happen quite frequently and, when they do, the results can be devastating.
Passenger Vehicle Occupants Most Vulnerable
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, occupants of passenger vehicles are more likely to die in accidents involving large trucks than drivers and passengers in the large trucks themselves. The reason, of course, is that small vehicles and their occupants are so much more vulnerable due to the difference in size and weight between their vehicles and the large trucks. In some cases, a large truck can outweigh a passenger vehicle by twenty or thirty times, and due to their height, they can easily drive right over a small vehicle during an accident. Given these facts and statistics, it should come as no surprise that the passenger vehicle occupants fare far worse than the truckers when things go wrong.
Factors Causing Truck Accidents
In any accident, we always look for reasons for why it happened. Particularly in accidents involving larger trucks, several basic categories of causes stand out. First, due to their size and weight, especially when hauling a full load, a truck’s ability to stop is far worse than that of a smaller vehicle. In bad weather, when the roads are wet or slippery, the truck’s performance is even worse. Additionally, if the truck is not kept in good shape, the truck’s brakes are not properly maintained, or its tires are not properly inflated, these can cause additional issues with their ability to stop.
A second category of truck accident causation, and one that has come to the attention of legislators and policymakers in recent years, is driver fatigue. Under federal regulations, drivers of large trucks are prohibited from driving more than a specified number of hours in a row or in any given seven-day period. While this law has been in effect for some time now, it should not come as a surprise that some drivers choose to ignore these laws and drive more than they should. Unfortunately, as fatigued driving is a real and valid concern, choosing to ignore these regulations puts all road users at risk of harm.
Some other causes of truck accidents may include the driver’s failure to obey speed limits or other rules of the road, shifting of the truck’s load, reckless driving, substance abuse, or blind spot issues. It is not correct to assume, however, that the truck driver is always at fault. Passenger vehicle drivers also need to exercise caution when driving around large trucks. Drivers need to keep in mind a large truck’s limitations and adjust their own driving to keep themselves as safe as possible when sharing the road with larger trucks. Keeping in mind a truck’s slower reaction time and slower braking ability, it is wise to allow a truck the extra room it needs. Being aware of the truck’s blind spots is important – we have all seen the signs on large trucks that state, in a nutshell, that if you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you. When driving in bad weather, it is even more important to allow extra room for those scenarios that are out of your control such as other drivers or tire blowouts. Keeping your distance helps to keep you safe.
Reach out to Us Today for Help
If you have been involved in a truck accident and have suffered injuries as a result, you need to take action to receive compensation for your injuries. Whether you proceed with a trial or end up settling out of court, enlisting the help of an experienced truck accident attorney is one of the smartest first moves you can make. At The Jaklitsch Law Group, we have represented numerous clients who have suffered injuries as a result of truck accidents and have helped them to obtain the best results possible. We will work with you to help you understand your rights and responsibilities under Maryland and Federal law and guide you through an often complicated legal process. Don’t leave your chance of success to chance – contact The Jaklitsch Law Group to schedule your initial consultation and get the results you deserve.