Three Major Tips for Preventing Tractor-Trailer Accidents

In 2014 3,360 people died in tractor-trailer accidents in the United States; and 68 percent of those deaths were passengers of other motor vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Many accidents were caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel, losing control of their vehicles, or simply driving too aggressively. While truck drivers are sometimes at fault, motorists should be aware of how they operate their vehicles around tractor-trailers to avoid causing an accident.

  1. Stay far behind any tractor-trailer driving in front of you, especially  when driving uphill. The truck could begin to drift backward if the driver has difficulty switching gears. At any speed or incline, driving too close to a tractor-trailer can be very dangerous, because an underride crash could occur. This happens when a vehicle collides with the rear of a tractor-trailer and becomes lodged under the trailer. The front of the vehicle can be crushed, killing or badly injuring the occupants, and the vehicle can be dragged for quite a distance.
  2. Signal well in advance, whether you are turning, stopping or moving into the truck’s lane. Tractor-trailers are very large and heavy. They require a much longer distance to stop compared to most vehicles. If you are planning to stop, tap your brakes a few times in advance to alert the driver. If you are planning to turn, signal much sooner than usual. Never move into the driver’s lane too quickly. Always signal in advance before switching lanes.
  3. Stay out of blind spots where the driver can’t see your vehicle. This can result in the driver changing lanes and forcing your vehicle off the road. Make sure you can see the driver in the side view mirror. When you can see the driver, he or she can see you as well.

It’s extremely important to do all you can to avoid an accident with a tractor trailer, but sometimes drivers are fatigued and make mistakes. They can be reckless or aggressive. If you become injured in an accident caused by a tractor-trailer driver, O’Dea Law Firm can help ensure your legal needs are met.


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