Large truck crashes are some of the most serious on America’s roads. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there were 3,986 truck crash fatalities in 2016: a 27 percent jump from 2009. Of those fatalities, 66 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles and 17 percent were truck occupants. Since drivers of passenger vehicles are to blame for the majority of truck crashes, it’s essential to know how to stay safe.
Tailgating is a major factor in truck accidents, so drivers are encouraged to keep at least 500 feet behind a truck. They should avoid all distractions, especially those coming from their smartphone and other electrical devices, and be aware of other drivers’ movements. Something is wrong if, for example, a trucker is drifting in and out of the lane.
Passenger vehicle drivers should also anticipate a trucker’s actions. This will involve looking ahead of the trucker, perhaps anywhere from one fourth to one half of a mile, and watching for any brake lights or emergency flashers in the distance.
In rainy, snowy or foggy weather, drivers should slow down. If it rains or snows heavily, drivers may want to pull over until it lets up. Lastly, it’s important to consider the road conditions. Drivers should look out for debris, especially in construction sites, and keep an eye out for oil spills and rough stretches.
Those who are injured in a commercial truck accident and believe that the trucker was negligent or even reckless may wish to consult with a lawyer. They might be able to recover damages for their medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages and other losses. In the case of recklessness, the plaintiff may even sue for punitive damages, which are meant as punishment. The lawyer may be able to negotiate for a reasonable settlement with the trucking company’s legal team, taking the case to court if one cannot be achieved.