How to Avoid Accidents with Semi-Trucks

Do internal alarms go off when you pass a big rig on the highway? If you tense up, slow down, or otherwise go into sudden high-alert mode you’re not only smart, you’re lucky. Almost 13% of the 16 million trucks on American roads at any given time are semi-trucks or big rigs, and 98% of all semi-truck accidents result in at least one fatality. Even if the incident doesn’t lead to death, the chances of walking away without a scratch aren’t good since over 22% of all truck accidents result in injuries. While most basic truck accidents don’t result in permanent bodily harm, 70% of all truck-related collisions result in serious property damage. So, when it comes to challenging a semi, chancing your luck versus contacting a competent Ann Arbor truck accident attorney is comparable to playing chicken with a brick wall. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to avoid such accidents altogether.

Pay Attention

This may seem like the most obvious statement in the world, but it’s amazing just how many drivers fail to take heed. Poor driving habits such as using technological distractions, hauling extra passengers, eating and drinking, and engaging in road rage result in 75% of all semi-truck accidents being caused by smaller passenger vehicles. Almost 4,000 fatalities occurred from collisions with large trucks in 2015, 69% of which were occupants from smaller passenger vehicles. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians accounted for 15% of deaths. So before insisting it couldn’t happen to you or someone you love, think again. The statistics prove otherwise.

Wear Seat Belts

Buckling up inside of a passenger vehicle may not be one of the most comfortable things in the world, but it’s one of the easiest and most defensive measures you can take against poor or dangerous driving habits. Around 2.3 million people in passenger vehicles were injured in 2014, and 21,000 of those were fatal cases. Almost 60% of teens and young adult fatalities of that year were unbuckled at the time of the crash. So reconsider the temporary discomfort every time you get into the car. It might help you survive another day.

Anticipate and Adjust to the Trucker’s Mobility and Visibility Limitations

Maintaining control of a semi or big rig is a completely different experience than driving a car or other moderately sized passenger vehicle. Trained and licensed truck drivers are limited by side mirrors and heavy hauls which minimize both visual abilities of the driver and mobility of the truck. Pay attention to the signs of the trucker. Notice turn signals and adjust speed and distance to allow safe lane changing. Also, look for their mirrors. If you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the trucker won’t be able to see you. And that can lead to an accident from which you may not be able to walk away.

Don’t Be a Pawn in the “Road Rage” Game

It’s far too easy to get mad at other drivers when they’re going too slow or driving in an erratic manner. However, taking that rage out on a semi-truck isn’t just a misguided decision, it can be a deadly mistake. Many truckers are on such a time crunch to get their hauls delivered that they’ll drive on limited or no sleep, while on prescription medications, or even miss important equipment evaluations just to perform their next task. For those reasons, truckers are often stereotypically aggressive or gruff–actions which are sometimes reflected in their driving habits.

A little common sense goes a long way here. If you attempt to bully a big rig, chances are you’ll get pummeled. Instead, slow down, pull over, or contact the authorities to alert them to the problem. If your efforts still lead to injuries on your end, be sure to contact a competent truck accident attorney for help with getting back behind the wheel.

Monique Hall

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