by Texas Christian injury lawyer, Tim O’Hare
Trucking accidents are making big headlines in Texas recently. Sadly, just this week, three people died as a result of a fiery multi-car accident involving at least one big rig on Interstate 35 in Waco. Earlier this year, an East Texas high school track coach was killed and 18 students were injured in a wreck involving an 18-wheeler.
Every year, there are more than 450,000 trucking accidents on U.S. roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 motorists are killed in accidents involving large trucks and an estimated 140,000 are injured. In an accident involving a passenger vehicle and a semi or commercial truck, 74 percent of those killed are passengers in the car.
Oftentimes, these deadly trucking accidents are attributed to driver negligence, often on the part of the truck driver. A driver’s negligence can be caused by one of a number of factors, including: talking on the phone, texting, driving while fatigued or drowsy, speeding, inattentive driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, inexperienced driving or improperly loaded or overloaded cargo in a commercial truck.
Not all accidents can be avoided, but many can. As the driver of a passenger vehicle, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers from an accident that could lead to serious injury or death. Keep yourself and your family safe by following these driving guidelines regarding large trucks:
Treat trucks differently than other cars. Big rig trucks weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car. Due to their sheer size, it is nearly impossible for semi trucks to come to a sudden stop. For example, a semi truck that is moving at 55 miles per hour can take the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. The size of an 18-wheeler also makes it difficult for the truck driver to change lanes. Never pull out in front of a semi truck and avoid situations where you may need to suddenly stop in front of a large truck.
Keep yourself visible. Driving next to a semi or directly behind one can make it very difficult for the truck driver to see you. Do not follow too closely or stay directly next to a semi truck. A general rule is that if you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
Never stop on the side of the road. Pulling onto the shoulder of a busy highway could cost you your life. If you have a flat tire or are having trouble with your car, if at all possible, pull completely off the road, either onto the grass or onto a side road or into a parking lot. Drivers of large trucks like 18-wheelers may have a hard time seeing a car stopped on the side of the road until it is too late — especially at night. If you do stop on the side of the road, do not stay in your car. Watch for traffic and carefully get you and your passengers out and move as far away from traffic as possible until help arrives.
Always drive with caution, keeping in mind the added difficulty truck drivers may face when it comes to sudden stops, changing lanes or adverse weather.
Victims of trucking accidents can receive compensation if they have suffered bodily injury or property damage in an accident caused by the truck driver’s negligence or fatigue. If you have been involved in a traffic accident with a commercial truck, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.
Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation 972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020