Semi trucks provide an important service for our nation’s economy; however, sharing the road with them can prove dangerous. With more than 17 million licensed drivers in Florida, along with millions of visitors each year, the possibility of a serious accident involving a semi truck is very real. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most fatalities in accidents that involve large trucks are the occupants of passenger vehicles. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, or if you’ve lost a loved one in such a crash, contact the experienced legal team at Sibley Dolman without delay.
Sharing the road with large trucks is something that we all must do learn to do when traveling Florida highways. The key to safely sharing the road is to avoid a truck’s no-zone. Often referred to as a blind spot, the no-zone is the area where your car disappears from the view of a semi truck driver. Large semi-trucks only have side mirrors; they do not have rearview mirrors.
The limited ability of truck drivers to see what’s around them is incredibly dangerous for passenger vehicles. Learning to recognize and avoid a truck’s no-zone is your best chance for avoiding a serious accident with a semi-truck. There are three main no-zones:
Front no-zone – When returning to the right lane after passing a semi truck, you should allow ample space between the front of the truck and the rear of your car. Sharply cutting off the truck too quickly can cause the truck driver to slam on his brakes.
The true cause of danger for the front no-zone is the truck’s braking capacity. A semi truck weighs 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger car. With a full load, a truck requires 20 to 40 percent more distance to stop than a car. Factor in wet or slippery road conditions and/or poor brakes, and the chance of a serious accident only increases. Remember to be proactive; pass the semi truck and use your mirrors to gauge the best time to return safely to the right lane.
Side no-zone – Passing a semi-truck requires strict concentration. It may seem more comfortable to ride alongside a semi truck instead of speeding past it. However, hanging out in the passing lane beside a semi truck is incredibly dangerous.
When a semi-truck driver is unable to see you because you are driving in one of his or her blind spots, the driver may not realize that you are there and attempt to change lanes. The result can be a traumatic and deadly collision. Remember to always make your move and get around the truck as quickly as possible. Use your signal, focus on passing the truck and nothing else, and then check the front zone.
Rear no-zone – Tailgating is a bad driving habit for many motorists, and it is especially dangerous to tailgate a semi truck. If the truck must brake suddenly, you and any passengers risk colliding with the truck and sustaining serious injuries. Remember, there are no rearview mirrors on a semi truck, so the truck driver must rely on his side mirrors. If he can’t see you in those, then you are following him too closely.
Semi trucks stand taller and have greater ground clearance than passenger vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires rear guards on the back of all trucks. Insurance and other industry experts cite poor regulation as the reason many of these guards fail, which can result in deadly accidents. Guards that are not properly maintained can easily rust and decay. Always remember to stay back and not to tailgate a semi truck; allow enough distance between you and the back of the truck, just in case the truck must brake suddenly.
Today’s drivers, including those of semi trucks, are becoming increasingly distracted by new technology. Distracted driving has progressed from changing the radio and looking at a map to sending text messages and fiddling with complex navigation apps.
Driver fatigue remains a problem on our nation’s roadways, and this is especially true for semi truck drivers on long-haul trips. Federal regulations require that truck drivers take 30-minute breaks after 8 hours of driving time.
Alcohol and drugs continue to plague America’s highways, and a lack of seat belt use is also a contributing factor to increased driving danger.
More than 4,000 people died in crashes involving semi-trucks in 2017. 68 percent of fatalities were occupants of passenger cars. Deaths from semi-truck crashes increased 30 percent in 2017, as compared to 2009 data.
Survivors of these accidents experienced serious injuries, including:
Serious injuries often require extensive hospital stays, intense rehabilitation, medical assistance devices, and expensive medication. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury in the United States. These crashes are not only harmful but also expensive. Even for those with insurance, ongoing costs for medical devices and services only increase over time.
If you’ve been seriously injured by a negligent semi-truck driver, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Traveling Florida highways safely and without fear is the right of every Floridian and visiting driver. Learning to avoid no-zones is an important step toward safely sharing the road with semi trucks. No matter how careful you are, a tired, poorly trained, or distracted truck driver can make a move that’s sudden, unexpected, and deadly.
Accidents that involve semi trucks can result in serious injuries that may require a lifetime of care. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. No one should pay car accident injury expenses out-of-pocket due to the negligent and reckless behavior of a trucking company employee.
Let us review your case for free. Call Sibley Dolman today at (305) 676-8154, or contact us online. The sooner we review your case, the sooner we can decide your best course of action. Should we decide to proceed with your case, we won’t settle until we secure the best possible outcome for you.
Our legal team takes great pride in the personal attention we provide our clients. We deal with aggressive insurance companies, so you can focus on your recovery. At the same time, we keep an open line of communication with you regarding the status of your case.
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