Driving around large commercial trucks can be dangerous. Accidents involving large commercial trucks are alarmingly common, and these accidents are far more likely to result in serious or fatal injuries than collisions between passenger vehicles.
While truck drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles safely, they want you to know that there are limits on what they can do to avoid accidents. For example, truck drivers want you to know that:
1. Trucks Have Larger Blind Spots Than Passenger Vehicles
In most cars, drivers can check their entire surroundings by looking in their mirrors and taking a quick glance over their shoulders. But, for truck drivers, this isn’t necessarily the case. Tractor trailers and other large commercial trucks often have much larger blind spots, and in some cases, truck drivers cannot see vehicles that are behind or beside them. If you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, then the truck driver might not be able to see you.
2. Truck Drivers Need Plenty of Room to Turn or Change Lanes
In addition to limited visibility, large commercial trucks also have limited maneuverability. To make turns, truck drivers need a wide berth. Passenger vehicle drivers who attempt to pass turning trucks can put themselves in dangerous situations. Likewise, when driving on highways and multi-lane roads, truck drivers need plenty of room to change lanes. If you attempt to pass a truck driver who is preparing to merge, the truck driver might not be able to accurately judge whether he or she has enough room to get over.
3. Trucking Companies Often Encourage (or Force) Their Drivers to Work Long Hours
Despite safety regulations designed to limit the number of hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel, trucking companies often encourage (or force) their drivers to work long hours. While truck drivers are responsible for making the right decisions, many truck drivers will get behind the wheel (or continue driving) when they are fatigued because they don’t want to lose their job.
4. Trucking Companies Don’t Always Maintain Their Trucks
While driver negligence is a leading cause of commercial truck accidents, it is far from the only factor that can cause a serious or fatal collision. In many cases, inadequate truck maintenance plays a role as well. When truck drivers rely on their employers to ensure that their trucks are safe, they don’t always know when issues like worn brake pads present risks on the road.
5. Trucks Are Hard to Control and Take a Long Time to Stop
Driving a large commercial truck is very different from driving an ordinary car, pickup truck or SUV. Large trucks are much more difficult to control, and, due to their weight, they take much longer to stop. As a result, when truck drivers find themselves in dangerous situations (i.e., they encounter wet conditions or another driver cuts them off), they often have little—if any—chance of avoiding a dangerous collision.
6. Truck Drivers Rely on Predictability
Due to their trucks’ limited maneuverability and increased stopping distance, truck drivers rely on predictability. They expect other drivers to operate their vehicles safely, leave plenty of buffer and respond appropriately to hazards in the roadway.
7. Truck Drivers Often Face Significant Job Stress and Tight Deadlines
Driving a truck can be an extremely stressful job. Many truck drivers work long hours, and they often operate under tight deadlines. As a result, they appreciate when other drivers give them some grace, and they expect other drivers to do their part to reduce the risk of being injured in a collision.
But, while there may be steps you can take to reduce your risk of being involved in a commercial truck accident, you cannot protect yourself entirely. Truck drivers make mistakes, truck manufacturers sell dangerous and defective trucks, and trucking companies violate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) safety regulations with alarming frequency. As a result, if you are struggling to recover from a truck accident, you should speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation, and, if so, your lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve.
Speak with a Lawyer about Filing a Truck Accident Claim in Ohio
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Ohio, our lawyers can fight for the financial compensation you deserve. For a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can reach you online today.