Businesses of all types and sizes across the world depend on large trucks for the transportation of their goods. Despite their necessity, 18-wheelers on our highways can pose great dangers for other drivers on the road. Factors such as weather conditions, skill of the truck driver, and calmness of nearby drivers can play a huge part in whether or not it is safe to drive near a big rig.
What Causes an 18-Wheeler to Crash?
Whether a truck driver is speeding, falling asleep at the wheel, distracted by a phone or other item, or failed to check a blind spot for other vehicles, a mistake on the behalf of a truck driver can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities for others on the road. Some of the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents are:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver intoxication or impairment
- Distracted driving
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to observe speed limits
- Truck equipment malfunction
- Truck tire blowouts
- Hazardous cargo
- Improper maintenance
- Overweight loads
Driving Safely Near 18-Wheelers
Though we were taught to drive cautiously and defensively while on the road, many driving school lessons failed to cover safety procedures and best practices when it comes to driving near large trucks. Knowing how to smartly drive near these types of trucks can save your life, or the lives of others around you.
Here are our top tips for driving safely around 18-wheelers:
Keep your distance.
When you drive too close to an 18-wheeler it can be difficult to see what is going on in front of them. Keep your distance so you can see more of what’s happening on the road ahead. You will want the space as a safety net for your reaction time in case the truck brakes unexpectedly or swerves to avoid any objects on the road.
Avoid blind spots
Did you know there are four “no zones” when it comes driving near large trucks? Due to the size of these commercial vehicles, their blind spots are large and dangerous. Don’t take your time when passing an 18-wheeler. Make the decision and pass as quickly and safely as possible.
Beware of blowouts
These large trucks spend numerous hours driving, day in and day out. As such, it is not uncommon for their tires to blow out. Truck tires are also often patched instead of replaced due to their cost and availability; therefore, making them more vulnerable to blow out and/or shed tire tread. Keep in mind all of the tire scraps you’ve seen on Texas highways when you’re driving near a truck, so you can remember to keep your distance.
Expect wide turns
Large trucks require plenty of space to make a turn. This can be extremely dangerous for nearby drivers if they are too close or aren’t paying attention to turn signals or wide swings out from a truck before making the turn.
Anticipate slow stops
Did you know it could take an 18-wheeler the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop? For this reason, you should never cut off a large truck and never brake unexpectedly when driving in front of one.
Truck Accidents (and Injuries) Can Still Happen
18-wheeler accident injuries can include some of the deadliest motor vehicle accident damages possible. Injuries sustained from an accident with an 18-wheeler can be painful and debilitating. Some of the most frequent 18-wheeler accident injuries reported include:
Broken bones: These can include not only simple fractures but also open fractures that pierce the flesh and commuted fractures in which the bone is broken in multiple places or is completely crushed.
Burns: Burns sustained from an accident involving an 18-wheeler can include first, second, and third-degree burns, depending on their severity. Recovery time can take weeks to years from these injuries – and they can even last forever.
Amputations: Sometimes, the impact of a truck accident can cause the direct amputation of a limb, but other times, severe trauma to a limb can lead to medical amputation, as well. Regardless of the reason, an amputation is a lifetime injury, leading to the possibility of not being able to return to work and the long-term expenses of treatment, rehabilitation, and possible modifications to a residence to accommodate the injury’s effects.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Again, due to the sheer force of a truck accident, serious head injuries are always possible. If the damage is minor, it may clear up in a few days or weeks, but many traumatic brain injuries can lead to much worse outcomes, including permanent disability in the form of speech, vision, or cognitive impairment, which can often lead to a lifetime of medical care to maintain.
Spinal Cord Injury: If the spinal cord is damaged by the impact of a truck accident, any number of things can happen, ranging from weakness or numbness in various parts of the body, to neck, shoulder, and back pain, a loss of bowel and bladder control, all the way to either full or partial paralysis. The higher up the damage is on the spinal cord, the greater the extent of the paralysis. Full paralysis will require a lifetime of medical care, including treatment and rehabilitation.
Those are among the most common injuries associated with a truck accident, but there are many others, including cuts, sprains, and strains. Sometimes, the injury is not apparent at first, and victims of these accidents refuse medical treatment immediately after the accident. They shouldn’t do that because whiplash, internal injuries, and other traumas are still serious, even if they’re not apparent at the time. Delays in treatment can lead to even greater health problems somewhere down the road.
Truck Accident Help
Whether you’re driving a car, a motorcycle, a van, or a truck, it is extremely important to know how to share the road safely with other types of motor vehicles. While you can control the safe operation of your own vehicle, not all other drivers are as cautious. If you’ve been involved in a truck or car accident due to the negligence of another driver, we can help. Contact the auto accident attorneys at Liggett Law Group today.