Trucking accidents cause 35, 000 deaths each year as well as serious injuries such as burns, brain injuries, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and other serious injuries. When a serious accident involving a truck takes place, there is often a great deal of focus on the driver. However, in many cases the drivers of passenger vehicles are also at leas partly responsible for a trucking accident. In fact, a study out of Los Angeles suggests that up to 75% of trucking accidents are caused by motorists operating passenger vehicles. Drivers of passenger vehicles often have less expensive training than truck drivers. As well, many drivers do not treat trucks differently than other vehicles on the road, and this can cause many common mistakes which can lead to an accident:
1) Changing lanes without signaling. Trucks take a longer time to respond, so trucks need plenty of warning when motorists change lanes. Zipping out in front of a truck when switching lanes is especially dangerous, as the truck may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
2) Taking a turn left in front of a truck.
3) Miscalculating the speed at which a truck is going. Trucks change speeds often, often picking up speed dangerously on downhill grades (especially when fully loaded) and slowing down when going up hill. Since trucks cannot stop as quickly as passenger cars, it can be very dangerous not to take truck speed into account.
4) Slowing down suddenly in front of a truck. A fully loaded truck takes much longer to stop and often cannot stop as suddenly as a passenger vehicle. Stopping suddenly or slowing down rapidly in front of a truck often causes the truck to plow into the passenger vehicle. In general, drivers need to avoid any sudden or rapid movements around trucks, since trucks are bulkier and slower.
5) Driving in the truck driver’s blind spot. Trucks have many more blind spots than cars. In general, if you cannot see the driver in the truck’s mirrors, he or she cannot see you. Driving in the blind spots of a truck can get your car crushed if the truck must suddenly swerve or turn.
6) Driving between two large commercial rigs. This reduces your visibility a great deal, making it hard for you to anticipate possible problems ahead and react in time. As well, being between two trucks increases the probability that you will end up in the truck’s blind spots and potentially get crushed.