Trucking collisions can be among the most severe accidents that occur on the roadways of Illinois. These incredibly large vehicles travel at high rates of speed and cover billions of miles across the nation every year, so serious injury or death often result from accidents in which they are involved. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 4,000 people were killed and 104,000 people were injured in trucking accidents in the U.S in 2012. An analysis of the data found that when a large truck and regular motor vehicle are involved in an accident, any fatalities that occur come from the occupants of passenger vehicles in 73 percent of cases. Knowing the likely severity of any trucking accidents that may occur, motorists can increase their awareness of tractor-trailers and help prevent these accidents before they happen.
Understanding truck behavior is key
In order for drivers to prevent themselves from being involved in a trucking accident, they must understand how a truck moves and how the driver must handle the vehicle. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, one key to preventing rear-end truck accidents is to ensure that a safe stopping distance is maintained at all times. Motorists are unable to see around large trucks and thus may be unaware of the potential dangers that may lie ahead in the road.
For an average sized commercial tractor trailer weighing 80,000 pounds and traveling at 44 miles per hour under ideal weather conditions, the stopping distance could be as long as 430 feet. That is nearly twice the length of a football field and 91 percent longer than the distance required for an average passenger vehicle. If a truck has to stop suddenly, a car that is following too closely will be unable to stop or change courses before colliding with the truck. Simply following a truck with a 3 second distance can help ensure that motorists are not caught unaware.
Avoid blind spots
To prevent commercial truckers from rear-ending motorists, they should always ensure that they keep the trucks headlights in their rear-view mirrors. If drivers are any closer than that, they may not even know there is a vehicle there because of the large blind spot that exists at the front of the vehicle.
Other blind spots are found at the rear of the truck as well as on both sides. The safest way for motorists to pass a large truck is to do so on the left, and only after ensuring that the driver has had the opportunity to see the passenger car. A general rule is that if a driver cannot see a trucker’s face in his mirrors, the trucker cannot see the motorist’s vehicle.
Motorists who have been unable to prevent an accident due to truck driver negligence can find relief for the damages they have sustained by contacting a Chicago personal injury attorney. They have the skills and knowledge necessary to help successfully negotiate and litigate these claims.