The interstate and large roadways like it serve a great purpose to our communities by offering an easily accessible route to get where you need to go. However, these often-crowded roadways also bring crowds of impatient and angry drivers – leading to high-stress driving conditions. In order to avoid the need for a truck accident lawyer, there are certain factors you should be aware of that play into a semitruck accident.
Statistics show us that roughly 5,000 people in personal vehicles die every year in accidents involving a semitruck, and 700 people in semitrucks die each year from these crashes. Car accidents always affect both sides involved, and more education on red flags and other signs to look for can help lower these numbers across the board and reduce the need for a truck accident lawyer.
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Slow Reaction / Stop Time
Trucks, especially semitrucks, have a very difficult time stopping in a short distance compared to personal vehicles mainly due to the sheer size and weight of the truck. This is an important thing to keep in mind when sharing the roadways with a semitruck or other large vehicle, noting any hazardous conditions or traffic patterns that may require you to stop quickly.
Roughly speaking, at 55 miles per hour in good conditions (dry, clear visibility, good braking system, etc.), a heavy vehicle can take about 6 seconds or 512 feet to come to a complete stop. This time includes the perception and reaction time lag that must occur before the driver can even put on the brakes.
If you want to avoid the need for a truck accident lawyer, be sure to provide the semitruck with plenty of space before making a move into their lane, and try to stay out from infront or behind them in the same lane if you can avoid it. This will keep you a bit more out of harms way in the event of a sudden stop.
Fatigue – How to Recognize It
Semitruck drivers often have to work long hours transporting from state to state, and driving fatigue is a major problem. There is a maximum limit to the number of hours truckers are supposed to drive – 11, according to the Hours of Service Regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This adds up to somewhere around 650 miles per day.
In addition to this limitation, there are other stipulations in place to prevent driving fatigue and keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, there are still some companies where truckers drive for much longer. Regardless, impaired driving due to lack of sleep is pretty common. Even the difference of 2-3 hours can determine the risk of a crash.
If you are sharing the road with a semitruck, be sure to keep an eye out for any hazardous driving behaviors that may result from fatigue. These could include:
- Swerving between lanes or off-road
- Gradual drifting from side to side – not necessarily sudden
- Traveling notably slower or faster than the speed limit
Taking note of these signs early will allow you to navigate away from the semitruck to put a safe distance between your vehicle and anything that might happen later down the road.
Road Rage – Stop Before It Starts
We have all dealt with road rage before – someone cuts you off in a dangerous maneuver and sends your adrenaline skyrocketing. In these moments, a quick reaction is often one founded in road rage and could lead to a fatal crash or other dangerous confrontation. Some drivers in personal vehicles get riled up when it comes to semis – they are slow and often jam up traffic on some of the narrower highways.
However, the wrong reaction here is something seen on dashcams where the driver of the personal vehicle cuts off a semitruck and begins to tap their breaks to either irritate the trucker or to even cause a rear-end accident and reap insurance benefits. This reaction, while it may feel satisfying in the moment, can ultimately lead to a fatal accident for you and anyone in your car. Do not be fooled into thinking your personal vehicle can take on a semitruck and win.
Do What You Can, Hire the Big Guns to Do the Rest
While you might feel like the factors of the road do not have much influence over your driving decisions, there are subconscious actions to be aware of that may help you counter a possible collision. Knowing what to look out for ahead of time will prepare you for the trip and arm you with means to avoid a possibly fatal collision with a semi.
At Morrison & Hughes, we understand that some accidents just cannot be avoided. No matter how much you prepare or how hard you try, accidents happen! Which is why securing a truck accident lawyer from Morrison & Hughes means calling in the Big Guns to help fight for your rights and proper compensation. If you or a loved one have been in a truck accident, call a truck accident lawyer with Morrison & Hughes at (404) 800-5297 or via our online contact form here.