PKSD Newsletter: How to Be Safer While Driving Around Semi-Trucks
June, July and August are notorious for being the worst months of the year for traffic fatalities. Not surprisingly, some of the deadliest summer crashes involve collisions with semi-trucks, buses and other large commercial vehicles (CMVs). While many of these fatal crashes could be avoided, are the truck drivers always to blame?
This month’s PKSD newsletter discusses road safety and driving safer around semi-trucks, 18-wheelers and other big rigs.
Commercial Vehicles Cause Nine Percent of Fatal Crashes Each Year
The number of annual crashes involving semi-trucks and other large CMVs is significant. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are over 4,000 fatal crashes with these vehicles each year. The National Safety Council reported there was a four percent decrease in the number of truck crashes in 2020 when compared to prior years. However, truck crashes still cause nine percent of all fatal traffic accidents each year.
All Drivers Have a Duty to Maintain Road Safety
Truck drivers and other CMV operators are held to a higher standard and are also required to follow many federal laws. That said, road safety is everyone’s responsibility. This duty applies to drivers operating smaller vehicles as well as larger trucks or buses alike.
While a number of crashes involve large commercial vehicles, as many as 72 percent of these crashes are caused by car drivers.
Some of the most common causes of these crashes with a big rig include all the types of negligence we are familiar with, including:
- Following too closely
- Drifting out of a traffic lane
- Drowsy driving
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances
The biggest driver error in car versus semi-truck collisions, however, is distracted driving. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports that texting and driving makes it 23 times more likely a driver will crash. In fact, distracted driving is so prevalent that it is the number one cause of crashes over all other violations – including speeding and drunk driving.
How Can Car Drivers Share the Road With Trucks More Safely?
Driving around a semi-truck, bus or other large CMV is not the same as sharing the road with other cars. To be safer driving around these large vehicles, here are some of the tips recommended by the FMCSA:
Take Steps to Pass Safely
Before you attempt to pass a truck to pull in front of it, make sure you clearly see it in your mirror. You should also never pass a larger CMV from the right or on a downgrade.
Know CMV Blind Spots and Avoid Them
Semi-trucks, big rigs and commercial buses all have larger blind spots than any smaller car. Their blind spots are on both sides, as well as to the front and back. If you are unable to see the driver, it is very likely they do not see you.
Anticipate Wide Turns From Semi-Trucks
Trucks and even buses swing wide when they make turns. Sometimes, they may even have to begin making their turn from a middle lane. Give these vehicles a wide berth at any intersection.
Stay Focused on the Road
Stay off your cellphones and remain focused on the road anytime you are in the driver’s seat. Making this behavior a habit is key to keeping you safer on the road. If you drive distracted, such as by looking at your phone or talking to other passengers, you are putting yourself and others in danger.
Never Tailgate a Semi-Truck
Following a semi-truck or other large CMV places you and anyone in your car at great risk for a collision. Cars that crash into a CMV from behind often slide under the vehicle. The injuries from this type of crash are often fatal.
There are more safety tips in our newsletter. We strongly encourage you to get familiar with these FMCSA safety recommendations and make them a habit whenever you get behind the wheel.
Call Our Trusted Law Firm After a Crash. PKSD is Here to Help
If you have been injured in a crash with a truck or other large commercial vehicle, you may be eligible to recover significant compensation.
At PKSD, we are deeply committed to helping injured victims. We have decades of experience and a history of proven results. More importantly, our clients are not just a number, and we always fight for maximum compensation.
Contact our firm today if you need legal help. We are ready to discuss your situation, answer your questions and explain your potential legal options. Our truck accident attorneys in Milwaukee are knowledgeable and prepared to help.
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