Law Office of David L. Scott

Be Safe When Driving Next to Trucks

Driving next to a semi-truck can be one of the most dangerous places on the road

With semi-trucks often weighing 20-30 times as much as a car, car drivers and passengers are extremely vulnerable in truck accidents. When a car is involved in an accident with a semi-truck, the results can be devastating. The damages and injuries are often severe. The Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF), an annual report including statistics on injuries and property damage involved in large truck and bus crashes, states that 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes in 2015. Furthermore, the report indicates that, in 2015, 87,000 large trucks were involved in injury crashes.

To protect yourself from being involved in a crash with a semi-truck, it is best to be aware of the risks when sharing the road with these large vehicles. One of the most dangerous places on the road can be right next to a semi-truck. Traveling along side a semi-truck has many risks you may not have considered before. For instance, if a truck loses control or is forced to switch lanes quickly, your vehicle may be crushed because the truck may not have anywhere else to go. Additionally, think about the possibility of a tire blowout. When a semi-truck has a tire-blowout, the full weight and force of the truck is quickly destabilized and can come at your car with such extreme force that you may be knocked off of the road by the impact.

It is also important to note that trucks have a restricted braking capability when compared to cars. A loaded tractor-trailer can take 20-40% longer than a car to stop. If the roadway is wet or the truck’s breaks are in disrepair, it can take even longer than that. Additionally, truck drivers all too commonly experience fatigue due to the long hours they spend on the road. Federal regulations allow a semi-truck driver to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch and 77 hours over the course of a week. Sometimes drivers do not adhere to these rules and spend even longer on the road. Driver fatigue can easily lead to unsafe driving practices and jeopardizes others on the road.

With these risks in mind, exercise extreme caution when traveling next to a semi-truck and, whenever possible, avoid traveling next to a semi-truck. If you need to pass a semi-truck on the road, do so quickly. If you see a semi-truck that may be swerving or experiencing a tire blowout, keep a safe distance.

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