Taking certain precautions when sharing the road with large trucks may help people avoid being involved in trucking accidents.
Each day, drivers in West Virginia and throughout the U.S. share the roads and highways with tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks. Unfortunately, collisions between these large commercial vehicles and smaller, passenger automobiles are common. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports 88,000 heavy trucks were involved in collisions resulting in injuries and 3,744 were involved in fatal wrecks in 2014 alone. While not all trucking accidents can be avoided, there are things drivers can do to help improve their safety when sharing the road with semitrailers.
Stay out of the blind spots
Like other vehicles, heavy trucks have blind spots. On these vehicles, however, these areas extend on both sides, as well as to their fronts and rears. When vehicles are in these blind spots, also known as no-zones, the truck operators may be unable to see them. Thus, it is advisable for people not to stay in the no-zones any longer than is necessary to safely move past these vehicles. This may help them ensure truckers know where they are and avoid having a large truck unintentionally move into them.
Watch out for right turns
Due to their size and alignment, large commercial vehicles need more room to maneuver than other automobiles. As such, they may have to veer wide to the left in order to safely make a right-hand turn. It is important that drivers are cognizant of this difference, and allow tractor-trailers ample space to move. Further, motorists should avoid trying to squeeze their vehicles in between large trucks and the curb as this could result in collisions that may cause serious injuries.
Do not cut in front
The West Virginia Department of Transportation points out that fully loaded semitrailers may take three times the distance to stop as other vehicles when traveling 55 mph. Consequently, truckers may not be able to avoid crashing if people merge in front of them and stop or slow suddenly. Therefore, drivers are advised to ensure they have ample room and clear road in front of them before attempting to pass tractor-trailers.
Consult with an attorney
When involved in collisions with large trucks, people in West Virginia may suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical care and time off of work to heal. For some, this results in undue medical costs and lost wages. Under some circumstances, the trucker or trucking company may be held liable for these, and other resulting damages. Therefore, it may benefit those who have experienced such situations to seek legal guidance. A lawyer may help them understand their options for seeking financial compensation.