Trucks are an integral part of today’s economy, transporting goods from one part of the country to another. Over 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States is transported on trucks. In fact, trucks move almost 11 billion tons of freight annually.
Unfortunately, the large number of trucks traveling on highways also leads to significant numbers of accidents with other vehicles, as a trucking accident lawyer Memphis TN trusts might explain. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 3,424 fatal accidents involving trucks in 2014 and almost 73 percent of those were collisions with other vehicles. There are things that you can do, however, to avoid a collision with a large truck, keeping you and your passengers safe from significant injury.
- Avoid Blind Spots
Because of their size and the position of the trailer, large trucks often have bigger blind spots than smaller vehicles. Blind spots refer to areas around vehicles that cannot be seen through windows or mirrors. In a tractor trailer, the blind spots are much larger than for a regular passenger vehicle. In most cases, if you cannot see the side mirrors of the truck, they cannot see you. Blind spots commonly exist directly behind the truck, the front of the truck in the lane they are in and the one to the right as well as beside the right side door of the truck.
- Be Cautious When Changing into a Lane in Front of a Truck
Trucks are unable to make sudden maneuvers due to their size and weight. If you pass a truck, do not cut immediately in front of them to move into their lane as they may not be able to stop quickly. Always make sure the entire cab is clearly visible in your rearview mirror, use your turn signal before changing lanes and move slowly into the truck’s lane without losing speed.
- Watch for Wide Right Turns
Trucks must often turn slightly to the left when making a right turn, especially if they are turning onto a small street. If a truck has their right blinker on, do not immediately attempt to pass on the left until you are sure the truck will not need to make a wide turn into the left lane.
- Do Not Tailgate
Trucks maneuver differently than cars, which means a driver may need to slow for traffic long before a passenger car. Riding too closely to the rear of a tractor trailer could lead to an accident if the truck slows suddenly. This is especially important when traveling on wet or slippery roads.
- Report Unsafe Driving
Most trucking companies have numbers you can call if you witness one of their drivers operating a truck in an unsafe manner. This could include weaving, driving too fast, or driving aggressively. Trucking companies take driver safety seriously, so it is critical that you notify them if any of their drivers are unsafe.
- Do Not Ride Next to Large Trucks
On two-lane highways, never ride next to a tractor trailer. Either pass the truck legally and move into the lane in front of them when it is safe, or slow down to move behind them. Trucks may have to make sudden lane changes to avoid other collisions and may not see you if you are riding next to them.
- Do Not Underestimate their Size and Speed
When pulling out onto a roadway, never underestimate the size of a truck or how fast it may be going. Despite their size, trucks can travel surprisingly fast, so a truck may be coming toward you at a higher rate of speed than you anticipate.
- Allow More Time at Lights and On Inclines
If you are behind a truck, remember that they must begin moving from a dead stop more slowly than other vehicles. They also may have to drive more slowly on inclines. Allow for this adjustment in speed if you are behind them.
- Allow Trucks to Move Into Your Lane
If a truck signals that they need to make a lane change, slow down to allow them to move into your lane if it is safe to do so. Do not speed up to pass them in order to get ahead. Cutting in front of the truck and hitting your brakes could put you in significant danger.
- Stay Alert to Traffic Ahead of You
When traveling on roadways with trucks, stay alert to traffic ahead of you and to the truck. If traffic has slowed ahead, begin to slow far in advance to provide adequate time for braking. In addition, if signs indicate a closed lane or detour, begin moving into the open lane as soon as you see the first warning sign. If there is room for a truck to move in front of you, blink your lights to let them know it is safe to take your lane.
These ten tips can keep you, your family, and all your passengers safe. If you or a loved one has been involved in a collision with a truck or other vehicle, contact us today to learn what rights you may have.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wiseman Bray PLLC for their insight into trucking accident cases.
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you most likely have mounting doctor bills and may be unable to work. While some car accidents are not hard to resolve, others can take years to settle. Fortunately, the law gives accident victims a way to seek compensation for accident related injuries, lost wages, and medical bills. Below are 10 tips for preparing for your car accident claim or lawsuit that may help you acquire a fair monetary settlement for your injuries.
Hire An Experienced Lawyer
Personal injury law can be a daunting process, one that is difficult to navigate successfully. You may have a better chance of obtaining a settlement for your injuries if you have an experienced personal injury lawyer Milwaukee WI trusts working for you. You can find a lawyer by speaking with friends and family members who have used one before. There are also referral services online that can recommend lawyers in your area. Before hiring a lawyer, it is important to be sure you are completely comfortable with your choice and can communicate with him or her effectively.
Get Witness Contact Information
Eyewitnesses to your accident can help you prove who was at fault, so it is important to obtain their contact information at the scene if possible. Once you have their name and phone number, you can forward it to your lawyer so he or she can obtain their statement.
Gather Supporting Documents
While some car accident cases are easy to resolve, most require some proof of your injuries and expenses. Gather all of the documents related to your accident such as doctor bills, prescription medication lists, police reports, and documentation from the insurance company.
The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is also true in most instances and accident cases are no different. By taking pictures at the scene of your vehicle, the at-fault vehicle, and your injuries you may be able to prove just how seriously you were hurt and who was at fault.
Forward Insurance Information to Your Lawyer
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company sends you written correspondence such as refusals to pay or a settlement offer, be sure to immediately forward them to your lawyer. Your lawyer needs all of the information at hand in order to negotiate a fair settlement or move on with your lawsuit.
Never Admit Guilt
In many instances, accident victims are overcome with the emotion and stress of an accident related lawsuit and make the mistake of providing too much information to the opposing attorney. It is key that you never admit guilt to the other driver’s attorney or insurance company before your lawsuit is filed or during the legal process. Anything you say can be used against you in court and can damage your case.
Keep Track of Your Car Expenses
If your vehicle is inoperable after a car accident, it is key to keep all receipts of repairs or costs for alternate modes of transportation. This way your attorney can accurately determine the sum total of your vehicle related expenses.
Provide Pay Stubs
If you are unable to work, provide your lawyer with a copy of a recent pay stub so he or she can calculate your lost wages. This is especially important if you are disabled because of the accident and will not return to work. Your lawyer can seek compensation for future lost wages if you are disabled.
Keep Your Medical Records
Be sure to obtain a copy of your medical records related to the accident, so you can provide them to your attorney if necessary. In many car accident cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will argue that your injuries were pre-existing and not the result of the accident. They may also try to argue that your injuries are not serious, which makes your medical records an invaluable tool for proving your case.
Be An Active Participant
While your personal injury lawyer is working for you, it will help him or her immensely if you are an active participant in your case. This is true from the moment you hire them until the settlement process or trial is concluded.
Car accident cases can be daunting, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to obtain a settlement to help you move toward a brighter future.
Thanks to our friend and contributors from Hickey & Turim, S.C. for their insight into preparing for a car accident claim.