Along I-65 and on the roads of Huntsville, big tractor trailer trucks and highway tankers are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Not long ago, a tanker overturned, shutting down I-65 near Gardendale. In August, a mother and her baby and a third passenger were killed in a wreck with an 18-wheeler in Birmingham.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its 2015 Fact Sheet in February 2017. Here are the sobering statistics:
● Fatalities in crashes involving large trucks were 4,067 in the US, an increase 4% from 3,908 in 2014
● Of the fatalities in 2015, 74% (2,990) were occupants of other vehicles
● 116,000 people are estimated to have been injured in crashes involving large trucks in 2015
● Injuries were up 4% from an estimated 111,000 in 2014
● 78% of the fatal crashes involving large trucks in 2015 occurred on weekdays
● 2 % percent of the large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2015 were driving drunk
If you are injured in a big truck wreck, you are going to need skilled and courtroom-tested auto accident lawyers from Huntsville to help.
Defensive Driving: Understanding Big Truck Blind Spots
As dangerous as tractor trailers can be, if you are a good Huntsville defensive driver, you can reduce your risks. Many times, these accidents are because the truckers cannot see the other vehicles on the road. It is important to understand big truck blind spots.
All Alabama drivers have personally experienced the idea of a “blind spot.” Because of the support columns in the vehicle and because of where another vehicle is located on the road, you do not see them in your mirrors or see them as you look quickly back or to the side. That is the main reason that you wait before changing lanes, you look more than once, and you move slowly. Moving slowly gives another vehicle time to honk their honk or take evasive action.
For big trucks, these blinds spots are even more pronounced. There is a large blind spot directly behind an 18-wheeler and large blind spots to the side. Unlike a car, trucks have no “back-seat” windows. So the drivers are dependent on their mirrors. But the trucks are tall and long, so the mirrors do not always show where the other vehicles are. Here are the areas and behavior to avoid:
● Never follow too close: The trucker cannot see you if you are tailgating directly behind the truck
● Avoid “riding” alongside a big truck at all: Accelerate beyond the truck or slow down and let the truck pull forward in the lane next to you
● Pass on the left: Blind spots are larger on the right side
● Be extra watchful around big trucks: Blind spots are not the only hazard; high winds and bad weather make a big truck more difficult to control
● Watch for truck turn-signals and give them room to move change lanes: Blink your light to signal you have noticed the truck and are staying a safe distance
● Be very careful if you have to brake in front of a big truck: They are massive in weight and big trucks CANNOT stop in the same distance that a car can stop; it is literally better to crash into a car in the next lane or drive off to the right than be rear-ended by a big truck
Being extra cautious and defensive around tractor-trailers and other big trucks will help you stay safe on Alabama roads and highways.
Contact Our Huntsville, Alabama Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a wreck involving a big truck, highway tanker, or an 18-wheeler in Madison County or anywhere else in Alabama, contact an experienced Huntsville and Madison County personal injury and accident attorney like the ones at Hornsby, Watson & Hornsby. Call today. You can email us or call (256) 414-9803, toll free (866) 986-1371. Do not trust the trucking company or the insurance company to do “right by you.” You need an attorney to fight by your side.