The Dangers of Driving on the Highways With Large Trucks
You’ll find 15.5 million large trucks driving along the roads and highways each day in the United States. With so many trucks out there, some tractor-trailers are bound to be involved in accidents. Specifically, one person is injured or killed in a collision with a large truck every 16 minutes.
The Most Common Causes of Truck Collisions
Because commercial trucks are so big, they are inherently dangerous to smaller vehicles. Just one semi can weigh as much as 40 tons. When a collision occurs between a small car and a large truck, the car takes the majority of the damage, and the resulting injuries can be devastating. The most common causes of accidents between trucks and cars include the following:
- Jackknifing: This is a phenomenon that occurs when the truck’s rear tires become locked. Jackknifing is likely to occur when a driver suddenly slams on the brakes. It causes the wheels to lock and the back of the trailer to spin toward the front of the truck. When this occurs, the visual effect is similar to a half-opened jackknife. As you might imagine, several passenger vehicles could get caught in a jackknifed truck.
- Blind-spot cashes: The blind spots are a lot larger in a large truck. An entire passenger vehicle can be caught in one of these blind spots. When this happens, the truck’s driver may attempt to change lanes without noticing that a vehicle is in the way.
- Distractions: Simple distractions are also a common cause of accidents between cars and trucks. While most truckers are safe drivers, some may be sending texts, eating or making phone calls while behind the wheel. These actions cause accidents just like when drivers of smaller vehicles do the same thing.
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers are required to drive for several miles and hours every day. These drivers are often tired when they are on the roads, and this is the cause of many accidents. Truckers also feel pressure to deliver their goods on time. They are delivering products to various clients, and they must do so by a deadline. If the deadlines are unrealistic, the driver may find it necessary to remain on the road for a longer period of time. As fatigue sets in, accidents are more likely.
The Most Common Injuries from a Truck Collision
As we have already discussed, accidents between smaller vehicles and larger trucks create the most serious injuries. Motorists in smaller cars are often killed in these collisions. If a person survives a crash, the individual could require years of physical therapy to care for their injuries. Sometimes, these injuries are permanent. The following injuries are common after a collision between a truck and a car:
- Spinal cord injuries: Collisions often cause injuries to your spinal cord, and they can be permanent. You might not be able to return to work for several months if this occurs. You may even need to change your entire life to accommodate a new reality of living with a disability.
- Back pain: You may have pain in your back or neck due to dislocated discs in your spine. If you have this type of injury, you may not be able to return to work because of the pain.
- Traumatic brain injuries: People often hit their heads during collisions. If the brain is affected, symptoms may include nausea, vision difficulties, confusion and cognitive difficulties.
- Broken bones: Due to the catastrophic nature of a truck crash, broken bones are an all-too-common result.
- Internal bleeding: The force that occurs during these collisions also causes internal injuries. This often leads to internal bleeding. Several organs may be affected in this manner, including the bladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and liver.
- Whiplash: This is a neck injury caused by a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement. Such forceful movements are common in truck accidents. Whiplash injuries can be deceptive because symptoms could take months to manifest. When they do arise, the symptoms include chronic neck pain.
- Lacerations: In truck collisions, large cuts could occur from broken glass or other sharp objects in the vehicle. Sometimes, these lacerations never heal, or they leave the victim with large scars.
How to Stay Safe When Sharing the Road With a Large Truck
When you see a large truck emerging on the highway, you may feel a sense of apprehension. However, there are ways you can safely share the road with commercial truck drivers. For starters, it’s important to understand the limitations of large tractor-trailers. Due to their size, these vehicles must make wide turns and are more vulnerable to windstorms. They also require a longer stopping distance. A truck traveling at 65 mph could require 200 yards to stop.
If you want to pass a large truck, do so on the left. The blind spot will be smaller for the trucker on this side. As you pass, do so at a consistent speed. A good rule of thumb to remember is this: If you don’t see the trucker directly or in the truck’s mirror, the driver won’t see you.
It’s also important to give a trucker plenty of space. You should maintain a following distance of four seconds or more. This will help prevent accidents caused by sudden stops, tire blowouts or wide turns. More space could also be a lifesaver if there’s ever a truck rollover caused by high wind.
Ultimately, you should always be more alert as you drive near a truck. Consider the trucker’s reduced field of vision as you share the road. Since you’ll be driving a much smaller vehicle, you’ll have more maneuverability. This could help you stay out of the way of danger. If you ever notice a trucker showing signs of fatigue or intoxication, contact the appropriate authorities immediately.
What Do You Do After a Truck Collision?
If you’ve been injured in a collision with a truck, the first thing you need to do is seek medical attention. Once health allows, you should contact a truck accident lawyer. A truck accident could drain your resources in many ways. In addition to astronomical medical bills, you could lose wages while you recover. If your injury is particularly serious, you may not be able to return to work.
A truck accident lawyer will help you determine who is at fault for the collision. Depending on the incident, there could be many different negligent parties. The driver of the truck may be the most logical person to be named in a lawsuit even though he or she was working for an employer. The driver’s employer might be held liable if it put pressure on the driver to work while fatigued. Your truck accident lawyer will also investigate whether the truck’s manufacturer or the company responsible for loading the truck can be named in the lawsuit as well.
RAM Law Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision with a truck, contact us at RAM Law today. You can reach our office in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at (732) 247-3600. You can reach our office in Somerville, New Jersey, at (908) 448-2560. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.