The statistics for crash fatalities that involve big trucks and automobiles are startling. One in ten of all highway deaths are related to big trucks, and the numbers of auto accident injuries that are a result are just as surprising. Those numbers might not be as high when you look at overall car crash deaths, but when trucks are involved in an accident, then almost 70% of fatalities are occupants in a passenger vehicle.
There are several factors in truck accidents that are important to keep in mind:
- The average weight of a truck is 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. The lighter-weight vehicle always sustains more damage, and sadly that includes more severe auto accident injuries and deaths.
- Trucks need up to 40 percent more distance to stop when traveling at the same speed as a car because of the increased weight.
- Trucks have more blind spots than cars, and the majority of passenger car drivers are not aware of them and how to drive accordingly when behind, around, or in front of a big rig. This places the automobile driver in dangerous position in more ways than one. Some major areas include directly in front of the truck, directly behind the truck, and areas alongside the truck when overtaking or passing them.
Follow the Basics
Most typical scenarios can be avoided that can cause a crash between cars and trucks:
- The distance between vehicles needs to be taken seriously. When behind a truck, don’t follow too close since your entire car can be lost in the truck driver’s blind spots. An excellent rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
- When you merge into the lane in front of a truck, be sure to leave enough space between your car and the truck. It is recommended that you leave a one second of space for every 10 feet of truck length. Usually this can be 4 seconds between a car and the truck, or 5 seconds if the speed is above 40 mph. This translates into a big distance. At highway speeds, a general guideline is that before merging back into the lane in front of the truck, that you make sure you can see the entire front of the truck in your inside rear view mirror.
- If a truck passes you on your left, it is helpful to slow down to help it pass you. At the moment that a truck on along side you, your car is in the truck’s blind spot.
- When a truck needs to merge in front of you into your lane, give it plenty of distance to enter your lane. A helpful tip is to flash your headlights when a truck has enough room to safely merge back into your lane in front of you.
More Truck-Related Car Fatalities Happen on Surface Roads
On surface roads a trailer truck needs about 60 feet of turning radius. That is nearly twice as much as a full-size car. Over half of passenger car fatalities happen on surface roads while trucks are trying to turn. If you anticipate the amount of space a truck requires without attempting to pass them, you can help keep yourself safe.
- Trucks take wide right turns to avoid hitting the curb. This means that trucks often have to make a wide left swing in order to make the turn without creating an incident or hitting something.
- Trying to pass a truck on the right before it turns can put you and your car at risk. You enter into a dangerous blind spot for trucks. Since the truck is in motion, they may not be able to stop in time, even if they do see you.
If you are injured in a truck accident, and would like to talk to a Syracuse truck accident lawyer about your potential case, please call us toll free at (800) 638-2998. All consultations are FREE, and you never have to pay a fee unless your case is successful.