Unfortunately, collisions involving large trucks and passenger vehicles are all too common on the roads throughout North Carolina. In fact, the state’s Department of Transportation reported that there were more than 3,400 accidents involving semitrailers in 2013 alone.
Due to the size differences between the vehicles, such collisions often result in serious injuries or death for the passenger-vehicle occupants. While not all trucking crashes can be avoided, there are steps that drivers can take to reduce their odds of being involved in these types of accidents.
Use Caution When Passing
It is obvious to most motorists that tractor-trailers are longer than the average car. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety points out that it can take other drivers a half-mile to safely pass these large trucks! Therefore, use caution when passing commercial vehicles. Do not rush, and make sure you have plenty of clear roadway in front of you to safely pass semitrailers and merge back into their lanes.
Give Large Trucks a Wider Berth
Due to their size and longer wheelbases, large trucks require more room to maneuver and turn than other vehicles do. As a result, truckers may have to merge into the lanes to their left in order to make some right turns. Drivers should be aware of this and refrain from trying to squeeze in between a semi-truck and the curb or another automobile.
Avoid Suddenly Slowing or Stopping
According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, fully loaded tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Due to their weight, they require significantly more stopping distance than passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs. In ideal conditions, large trucks traveling at 55 mph need about 430 feet to stop. Because of this, truckers may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision if you suddenly slow or stop in front of them. Be attentive to the road conditions and take precautions to avoid unexpectedly stopping when driving in front of a semitrailer.
Stay Out of the No-Zones
Large trucks have sizeable blind spots on all sides. Truckers are generally not able to see motorists who are in these blind spots or no-zones. Therefore, it is advisable not to linger in these areas. When a vehicle is in a truck’s blind spot, the trucker may not be able to take evasive actions to avoid dangerous situations that might arise on the roads. Additionally, the truck may unintentionally collide into your car if its driver does not see that you are there.
Seeking Legal Guidance
Should a tractor-trailer wreck occur despite your precautions to avoid one, it’s likely that there will be serious injuries. Litigation with trucking companies is unique and complex. You should consult with an experienced attorney who has handled these type cases for years.