Safety Tips for Driving on the Road with Tractor Trailers

June 18, 2014
Safety Tips for Driving on the Road with Tractor Trailers

Summertime is here, which means tens of thousands of Americans will be taking to the road as they travel to seasonal retreats and vacation locations. Safety is of the utmost concern for passenger vehicles as they drive to their final destination. Driving concerns are only natural when sharing the road with tractor-trailers, as there has been a 20% increase in trucking accidents over the last two decades according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States, with approximately 5,000 accidents resulting in fatalities and thousands more resulting in injuries. The five most common causes of truck accidents are as follows:

1)  Truck Driver Error:  According to the FMCSA, driver error is ten times more likely to be the cause of a crash than any other factor. Driver fatigue, distractions, and substance abuse are the most common causes of driver error.

2)  Weather Conditions:  Weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds, a loaded semi can outweigh the average passenger vehicle by more than 25 times. This means, due to their heavy load, trucks need to increase their braking distance in bad weather. Staying apprised of local weather patterns can assist the driver’s anticipation of braking when needed.

3)  Truck Equipment Failure:  Defective tires and faulty reverse lights are examples of truck equipment failures. The FMSCA requires pre-trip inspections, as well as companies to perform routine inspections and maintenance throughout the year.  Ignoring these guidelines leads to accidents.

4)  Improper Loading:  A truck can malfunction when moving if the load is not safely configured or distributed on the trailer. Improper loading can also lead to not being safely secured, resulting in the load falling off onto roadways.

5)  Truck Driver or Company Selection:  Shippers need to be diligent in background checks on drivers and companies to ensure the best delivery results. They should check each is compliant with FMSCA regulations.

When driving a passenger vehicle, there are several steps you can take to help ensure safe travels when on the road with tractor-trailers.

–          Don’t tailgate or drive alongside trucks for too long.

–          Stay visible by being aware tractor-trailers have much larger blind spots.

–          Leave more room for trucks to stop on wet roads.

–          Use caution when merging into traffic in front of trucks.

–          Pay attention to turn signals.

If you or a loved one is ever injured in a tractor-trailer accident that was not your fault, call Graves McLain for help. An experienced lawyer will speak with you for free. If we accept your case, we will fight to protect your right to the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us at 918-359-6600 for a free consultation.

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