Driving Mistakes That Cause Truck Crashes

Mistakes To Avoid When Sharing The Road With Trucks

Drivers of passenger vehicles, large commercial trucks, and buses are all expected to share the roads safely. However, if truck accident statistics are any indication, what happens when cars, trucks, and buses are out on the road together is anything but peaceful coexistence.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 415,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2015—83,000 of which resulted in injury, and nearly 3,600 of which were fatal.

cars_and_trucks_on_highwayUnfortunately, when a passenger vehicle and a large commercial truck or bus collide, the vehicle and its occupants tend to bear the brunt of the injuries and damages.

Learning what mistakes to avoid when sharing the road with buses, 18-wheelers, and tanker trucks can help motorists prevent catastrophic accidents and injuries.

Mistake: Cutting in Front of Commercial Trucks or Buses

Large trucks and buses are exceptionally heavy, weighing between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds. As a result, it takes commercial vehicles like semi-trucks much longer to come to a complete stop than it does passenger vehicles.

For example, a fully loaded 18-wheeler traveling at 65 mph under ideal road and weather conditions would take 525 feet—nearly the length of two football fields—to come to a stop. When a passenger vehicle driver cuts in front of a commercial truck or bus, the operator may not have the time or distance it needs to avoid a serious rear-end accident.

Mistake: Underestimating a Truck’s Speed

Due to their size, approaching semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles may appear to be moving slower than they actually are. When drivers of passenger vehicles misjudge the speed of an approaching truck or bus, they may incorrectly think that they have time to turn or pass the vehicle in front of them, resulting in devastating accidents.

Mistake: Driving in Blind Spots

Commercial trucks and buses have large blind spots, also known as no-zones. Driving in these blinds spots put passenger vehicle occupants in serious danger. Too often, motorists who are traveling in truck or bus no-zones assume the commercial driver can see them—despite being completely obscured.

A good tip for passenger vehicle drivers to remember: if they can’t see the rig’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see them.

Mistake: Driving Too Close

Driving too close to a large truck or bus for an extended period of time not only puts vehicle drivers in danger of inadvertently drifting into no-zone blind spots, it also puts them at risk for being caught up in any problem that the larger vehicle might have.

For example, if a big-rig has a tire blowout and a motorist is hovering nearby, the tire shreds may fly through the passenger vehicle’s windshield, causing an accident. Another incident may be if the truck rolls over onto a smaller passenger vehicle in high winds.

Mistake: Passing a Truck on the Right While It’s Turning

Tractor-trailers, motor coaches, and other large commercial vehicles make wide, sweeping turns—particularly when turning right. As the operator steers a truck into a right turn, the back of the truck swings wide. If a motorist is attempting to pass on the right, his or her vehicle can get crushed by the truck’s back wheels.

Giving large trucks and buses a wide berth whenever possible is almost always the best safety strategy.

Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

While learning what truck crash mistakes to avoid can help motorists prevent serious accidents, what should you do if you or a loved one has already been injured in crashes caused by negligent commercial truck drivers or their employers?

If you were seriously hurt in a negligence-related truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact McGartland Law Firm today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial case analysis.