The holiday season revolves around the nation’s roads. Most of the necessary gifts and supplies are transported across the country, usually by large trucks. Families put many miles on their vehicles as they travel to family gatherings, some hundreds of miles away. All of this traffic leads to a high number of motor vehicle accidents, many involving semi trucks. These accidents are often deadly because a semi can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. while a typical automobile weighs only 4,000. The family car is no match for the size of these trucks. If you are traveling during this holiday season, you need to take extra precautions in order to stay safe and help others do the same.
Truck Accident Causes
According to statistics, more than 500,000truck accidents occur each year, meaning one person is killed or injured every 16 minutes due to a truck accident in the United States. Although truckers are generally highly-skilled employees, they do make mistakes that cause accidents. Common driver errors include fatigued driving, distracted driving and driving under the influence. Trucking companies and the government have taken a number of steps to eliminate these behaviors, including better coaching, drive-time regulations and camera monitoring in the cabs. However, there is no way to make truck travel 100% accident-free.
Truck accidents can be caused by poor maintenance as well. These vehicles often travel thousands of miles daily, imposing a huge strain on brakes, engines, tires, etc. Without proper maintenance, truckers may find themselves driving on worn out brakes or bald tires, which can easily lead to accidents. Even a simple breakdown can be dangerous if the truck cannot be moved far enough off the road while waiting for help.
Although many private passenger drivers can avoid bad weather, truckers simply cannot. In most instances, they continue with their routes through extreme wind, rain and snow in order to fulfill their job requirements. Bad road conditions are particularly troublesome for drivers due to the weight of their vehicles and the lengthy stopping times they require. On a slick road surface, big rigs can easily slide off the highway or jackknife, causing crashes that harm the trucker and other drivers.
The majority of truck accidents are not the fault of the truck driver. Over 75% of these incidents are caused by the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision. Passenger vehicle drivers often fail to drive safely around large rigs and treat them as if they were another car or SUV. Common mistakesinclude the following:
- Driving too close to a large truck. If you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver cannot see you. A trucker might make a maneuver such as changing lanes believing the way is clear and strike your car.
- Going to the right of a truck making a right turn. Trucks often require several lanes to maneuver. Trying to go around them can lead to a serious collision.
- Changing lanes too quickly in front of a truck. Unlike smaller vehicles, trucks cannot stop or slow down quickly. If you don’t give them enough room, they will hit your vehicle.
- Driving between two trucks. Getting “trapped” between two large vehicles on the road can lead to your driving blind. You will be unable to see around the other vehicles and can be buffeted by air turbulence.
Driver education and defensive driving by truckers are two effective ways to limit these often devastating accidents. These issues affect drivers all year long, but the holidays simply make the situation worse. Fortunately, you can take steps to make your holiday journey safer.
Truck drivers are often on the road during Thanksgiving, Christmas and the days leading up to these holidays. They crisscross the country with full loads so that Santa can deliver everything that was promised. Many of these truckers travel Arizona interstates to make the holidays happen, so they have sound suggestions for staying safe this holiday season.
- Slow down. Your chances of being in an accident almost triple when you are driving faster than the drivers around you.
- Use your seat belts. Some people still neglect this simple act that can save your life in an accident.
- Leave early so you are not tempted to rush while on the road.
- Avoid dangerous drivers. If you spot an erratic or angry driver, slow down or pull off the road until they are gone. Also, call 911 so the highway patrol can keep them from harming others.
- If bad weather strikes, postpone your trip. Getting to your destination on time is not worth risking your life. Your relatives will understand.
If you are involved in a truck accident, you need both medical and legal help. The injuries caused by these collisions are often quite severe because car safety features are no match for the weight of a big rig. Most truck drivers are responsible and well-trained, but they do make mistakes. Their error can wreak devastation on you and your family that will take time and money to fix.
In Arizona, contact The Schmidt Law Groupfor help. Their experienced attorneys are experts in personal injury cases, particularly those that result in serious harm. A collision with a big truck can cause injuries that affect your entire life, impeding your ability to work or meet your family’s needs. The Schmidt Law Group will get you the compensation that you deserve, including money for medical bills, salary replacement and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in Arizona, contact The Schmidt Law Group for a free case evaluation. Fill out the formon the website or call (602) 282-0047. You can also download their convenient app to your iPhone or Android device.