Semi-truck accidents can result in some of the most catastrophic injuries and fatalities. These crashes occur for many different reasons. Driver negligence, heavy traffic, road construction, bad weather, poor truck maintenance, distracted driving, driver fatigue, and impaired driving are among the common causes of accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,440 large trucks and buses are involved in collisions on U.S. roads in a typical year. A recent study of semi-truck accidents by The University of Alabama reported that 7,782 tractor-trailer crashes injured 2,184 people and killed 89 people in a single year.
The trucking industry in Alabama is robust, with the Alabama Trucking Association reporting that there are 9,160 trucking companies in Alabama. While these companies are valued for the jobs they provide to our state and the freight they transport, we have a right to expect them to properly hire and train drivers, maintain their vehicles, and make sure that we are all safe on the state’s roads and highways.
The injuries and damages suffered by trucking accident victims can be serious and extremely costly. If you are hurt in a trucking accident, you may spend extensive time in the hospital and therapy recovering from your accident. If you are seriously hurt, the driver and the trucking company may be responsible for compensating you for the costs associated with the crash.
Here are a few tips for staying safe on the road when driving near large trucks:
- Check for Blind Spots. When driving around large trucks and buses, you need to beware of blind spots that are around the front, back, and sides of the vehicle. If you can’t see the driver in the side mirror, it is safe to assume that the truck driver will not be able to see you. Slow down or move ahead to stay visible and within the line of sight.
- Pass Safely. Always make sure everything is clear before passing. Use your turn signal before moving into the left lane and speed up so that you can pass the truck safely. Do not pass in the right lane. It is also important that you can view the truck in your rearview mirror before you pull out in front of it. Give trucks and buses space to merge in front of you when they are changing lanes or coming off ramps onto the freeway.
- Do Not Tailgate. Tailgating a truck is extremely dangerous. Because trucks are so high off the ground, if you are hit from behind or if you fail to stop your vehicle in time, your car could slide under the truck, which often results in deadly injuries. Remember that truck drivers cannot see vehicles that are directly behind them, so make sure to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the trailer.
- Anticipate Turns. Because trucks take wide turns, do not try to squeeze by or get between the vehicle and the curb. At an intersection, do not stop in front of the line, because trucks need that extra space to make turns safely.
- Do Not Drive Under the Influence. After using drugs or alcohol, you lose your ability to focus and drive safely. Even prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication can affect your driving. If you are impaired, refrain from getting on the road or designate a sober driver to drive your vehicle.
Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer for Help
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our Alabama semi-truck accident lawyers believe that negligent truck drivers and trucking companies should be held accountable when they injure other drivers. Our experienced Huntsville attorneys have recovered more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Contact us online or by phone now for a free courtesy consultation.
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.