How to Avoid Accidents with Commercial Trucks
Any accident has the potential to be life-altering, but a collision with a commercial truck can be more devastating than other vehicle accidents. The size and weight of a commercial vehicle not only makes it more difficult to maneuver, but the impact of these trucks can also lead to catastrophic injuries and even death.
Drivers of commercial trucks must have special training and carry licenses, and they are also subject to certain rules. Federal law requires that a commercial driver only drive a certain number of consecutive hours without rest. Truck drivers are also now prohibited by law from using handheld cell phones while driving to prevent distracted driving accidents.
Even with these measures in place, there are thousands of commercial truck crashes on our nation’s roads each year. In Alabama alone, there are more than 9,000 crashes each year involving commercial trucks, a figure that has increased for the last five consecutive years. If you plan to be on any of our state’s road, here are several ways that you can avoid an accident with commercial vehicles in Alabama.
Avoid the Blind Spots
Commercial vehicles have multiple blinds spots because of their size. Also referred to as “No Zones,” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines these limited visibility areas on all four sides of the vehicle as:
- Up to 20 feet in front of a truck.
- Up to 30 feet behind a commercial truck.
- Two lanes to the right and behind the truck.
- One lane to the left of the truck in the rear.
If you’re going to drive near a commercial truck, be aware of these blind spots and drive defensively while in them.
Don’t Pass on the Right
In some states, passing on the right is illegal, although this is not technically the case in Alabama. This problem with passing on the right is that nearly all commercial trucks have a significant right-side blind spot that makes seeing another vehicle nearly impossible. This is particularly the case during turns when a car could become trapped between a truck and another vehicle or a median. If you’re going to pass a truck, always do so on the left.
Use Caution When Turning
Turning is a challenge for large trucks because they require more space to complete the maneuver. This is particularly true if they are turning right. If you’re following too closely to a truck that needs to turn, you could risk colliding with them if you enter one of their blind spots.
Keep Your Distance
Trucks take longer to turn and stop than passenger vehicles, so you should always give them enough space. Whether the roads are wet or dry, avoid following commercial trucks too closely or cutting them off on the road. If they must put brake, there could be disastrous consequences.
Report Dangerous Drivers
Even when you do everything possible to avoid an accident, a careless or reckless truck driver could make a collision inevitable. You can potentially save someone else’s life if you report one of these irresponsible drivers before an accident occurs. If you see a truck driver swerving, speeding, or driving in an unsafe manner, call the number listed on the truck. If there is no number, call 911. In either case, have the license plate number and a description of the truck ready.
Speak with a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney
Alabama has more than its share of dangerous roads, and accidents on our state’s highways, city streets, and rural areas are common. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, there’s a good chance that you’ve sustained serious losses.
A tractor-trailer can be as much as 20 times heavier than a passenger vehicle. When these accidents occur, injured parties often require extensive medical treatment, lose time from work, could have permanent impairment, and may experience pain and suffering.
The Alabama truck accident attorneys at Smith & McGee, PC, have the experience necessary to handle these complex cases. Our skilled legal advocates will protect your rights and pursue the parties responsible for your losses until you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact our Dothan, AL office now at 334-708-3158 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.