Road Safety: Surge in Semi Truck Accidents

We always share info on safe holiday travels, but here's a twist to consider...

Road Safety: Surge in Semi Truck Accidents

One person is injured or killed in a truck accident every 16 minutes. It’s not too often trucking accidents garner national attention, but the United States Department of Transportation estimates over 500,000 accidents occur every year. No wonder instantaneous, and perhaps previously considered irrational, fear sets in when caught in an 18-wheeler sandwich.

Unfortunately truck-crash fatalities are rising, with an 18 percent increase from 2009 to 2012, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Breaking the numbers down further, there are 10 fatal crashes and over 284 injuries a day. However, the number of trucks and their annual distance traveled are both down by over two percent.

So who is to blame? Apparently, it’s debatable. In talking with safety advocates and trucking companies, blame is most often shifted between tired or distracted commercial truck drivers and companies and passenger vehicle drivers. Politics aside, there are safety tips commercial and noncommercial drivers should be aware of to avoid becoming part of these tragic national statistics.

Noncommercial Driver Safety

DrivingSemi trucks weigh exponentially more than the typical car, and with that comes limitations in braking and visibility- something the hurried driver may not think about when following too closely or jumping directly in front of. Below are safety tips for sharing the road with semis:

Avoid “No-Zones”: areas behind and beside semi trucks where the driver has large blind spots.
Do not abruptly change lanes in front of a truck; use your blinker and allow the driver time to notice your intentions.
Avoid driving between semi trucks.
When merging or pulling into traffic from the roadside, accelerate with enough speed to prevent the driver from needing to quickly brake.
Avoid any type of unsafe passing when semi trucks are in close proximity.
Avoid abandoning your vehicle in a travel lane; if possible, move the car completely off the shoulder and then wait for help.
Do not maneuver around a semi truck making a right turn.

Commercial Driver Safety

Driving semi trucks or any large vehicle requires adequate training and comfortability with long travel days. It’s important drivers and their respective companies keep safety in mind amidst the continuously booming business. Safety tips for commercial drivers include:

Stay current on training and driving techniques for your semi truck
Set realistic schedules and mileage expectations to avoid driving while tired
As is the law for all drivers, do not use cell phones or any other devices carrying the potential for driver distraction
To prevent rollovers: avoid sudden movements, control your load on turns, control speed while maintaining proper “speed cushions”.
Identify high risk areas on roads beforehand.
Monitor weather conditions during your cross country travels.

Jenna Murrell writes on behalf of Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC, truck accident attorneys in Alabama. Shared from the First Aid Store Blog

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