Tractor trailers can be dangerous on the road and drivers should know how to drive safely around them in order to avoid an accident.
Countless tractor trailers traverse Pennsylvania roadways on a daily basis. Motorists in the state may be used to sharing the road with these massive vehicles. Yet, many may be unaware of the dangers these big rigs impose. Large trucks operated by drunk, distracted, drowsy or otherwise negligent truckers can spell disaster for smaller vehicles. Bad road conditions, inclement weather, slowed traffic, equipment malfunction and motorists’ erratic driving behaviors can also increase the risk of a serious truck accident. In order to prevent these tragic accidents from occurring, drivers should know how to share the road with tractor trailers. They should also know what to do if they are faced with a hazardous situation involving a large truck.
According to State Farm, drivers should use the following safe driving practices when traveling alongside large trucks:
- Stay out of a truck’s blind spots, especially on the right-hand side, behind and directly in front of the vehicle. Try to pass the truck quickly and on the left-hand side.
- Never pull out in front of a truck. Big rigs need a longer distance to brake, and pulling out in front of them may cause a rear-end accident.
- Drive defensively around large trucks. Keep an eye out for tractor trailers that are speeding or driving erratically and report them.
- Trucks often make wide turns. Allow for these turns by staying out of their way.
Equipment malfunctions, such as faulty brakes, tires, lights and other pieces of safety equipment, may occur. Drivers should be on the lookout for any signs that something is wrong.
The rate of large truck fatalities in the U.S. has been on the rise, from 3,211 deaths in 2009 to 3,906 fatalities in 2013. Pennsylvania has also seen an increase in large truck accident deaths from 131 in 2009 to 175 in 2012. The death rate dropped, however, to 170 in 2013. Some people attribute the increasing rate of death to negligent truck drivers. Yet, trucking companies who employ negligent, unqualified and otherwise delinquent truckers may also be to blame. The American Trucking Association warns motorists that the number of tractor trailers on the road is expected to grow due to an influx in freight, according to NBC News. This could mean more accidents in years to come.
What to do if an accident occurs
Large trucks can cause massive destruction when involved in an accident. People who are involved may receive serious injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, broken bones or paralysis. These injuries can affect the rest of your life, making it hard for you to return to work and engage in the activities you love. A personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania may be able to assist you by answering your legal questions and pointing you in the right direction.