As the holidays are approaching around the country, law enforcement and highway safety advocates are advising caution when driving close to tractor trailers.
According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, visibility is the most important thing to remember when driving a passenger vehicle around a tractor-trailer. It is important to remember that the driver cannot see you in their side mirrors if you cannot see him or her.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration points out that large buses and trucks have huge blind spots; the FMCSA refers to these areas as No Zones for traffic. These spots are around the front, back and sides of the vehicle.
It also is important to pass trucks safely, and to stay next to a big rig for as little time as possible, never cut off a tractor-trailer, and allow them plenty of turning room.
When driving in the city and in residential neighborhoods, experts on public safety point out that it is important for cars to stop at the white stop bars that are painted at most intersections. The reason those are there above all else is so that large vehicles can make turns safely. If a car pulls too far forward when stopping, the truck or bus will have a hard time making the turn safely. Blocking the crosswalk also is illegal and unsafe.
Drivers also need to remember that it takes trucks a lot longer to stop or to take evasive action. These rigs can weigh legally up to 80,000 pounds, so they take much longer to bring to a halt than a 4,000-pound car.
By keeping these simple safety rules in mind around tractor trailers, drivers at the holidays can ensure that they get to their destination safely.
Our truck accident attorneys in Virginia always like to remind drivers around the holidays of the importance of driving carefully around tractor trailers. In 2015, the FMCSA reported that large trucks and buses were involved in 4311 fatal crashes. This was an 8% increase from the year before. From 2014 to 2015, the number of large bus and truck crashes per 100 million vehicle miles increased by 1.7%.
While some tractor-trailer crashes may be due to reckless driving on the part of regular car drivers, many of these accidents are due to reckless actions by the truck driver. It is common for truck drivers to drive too fast, to be distracted by GPS systems and cell phones, and to fall asleep while driving.
Using caution around tractor trailers can help to avoid serious and even fatal accidents, which often lead to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits and settlements.