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When you are out on the road, one of the biggest threats to your safety are 18-wheel commercial trucks. Each year, about 500,000 semi-truck crashes occur. About 25% of those involve injuries and 1% involve fatalities. Continue reading for more information on tractor-trailers and what you need to know to stay safe on the roads.

Fast Facts About 18-Wheel Commercial Truck Accidents

There is a reason semi-trucks present a higher accident risk. Tractor-trailers need additional stopping distance because of their weight differential compared to normal passenger cars, making it harder for them to brake and stop. 18-wheel trucks present a special set of risks because of their large size, onboard cargo, and heavy vehicle weight. Because of these factors, crashes involving semi-trucks are much more devastating and catastrophic than normal auto accidents.

Regarding commercial semi-truck accidents, studies have shown:

  • The majority of 18-wheeler trucks involved in crashes have a single, semi-trailer attached to them.
  • When a fatal, multi-car crash occurs, studies have shown that it is more likely to include a semi-truck.
  • It is not just cars that are affected; about one-fifth of fatal large truck crashes also involve nonmotorized vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to stay alert and follow proper passing techniques when driving next to a commercial truck.

Semi-Truck Drivers

Besides the semi-truck itself, the working schedules of truck drivers are also an important factor to consider. Trucks drivers typically have longer shifts than most, working up to 8 hours without a break and legally allowed to drive 11 hours in a 14-hour shift. When sick, injured or fatigued, their ability to focus can become inhibited while driving. New employees on the job may also be insufficiently trained on how to maneuver and stop the truck, leading to further complications.

Passing a Semi-Truck on the Road

When passing a semi-truck, take special precautions. The blind spot for semi-trucks is much larger than that of your passenger vehicle. If you can’t see the driver in their mirrors, it is likely they can’t see you either. When passing, truck drivers can see you more easily when you are driving on their left side. Be sure to use proper blinkers to signal your lane change and let the truck driver know where you are going. When passing, do so as quickly as possible within the speed limit, so that you are not riding in a truck’s blind spot. Also, before passing, avoid following the truck too closely in case of a sudden stop.

Studies show that rural roads and highways are where most crashes occur, with the vast majority of fatal and non-fatal crashes occurring over the weekend. Impaired and distracted driving tend to play a large role in this number, so the best thing you can do to stay safe is to stay alert while behind the wheel. Avoid texting and driving, driving while fatigued, and speeding or following trucks too closely. Staying alert to your surroundings and being mindful of semis on the road around you are the most effective way to protect your safety.

Drivers should take extra precaution around 18-wheelers, but if a commercial truck accident does occur, contact an experienced truck accident attorney to handle your case. Immediately following an accident, the company of the truck and its team of lawyers will begin building their case. It is crucial to hire a truck accident attorney with the collateral to go up against these big companies and fight for the justice you rightfully deserve.

The attorneys at Matthews Injury Law have taken cases to trial on behalf of trucking companies and those injured by the negligence of trucking companies. You should know if your attorney has taken a trucking case to trial because the trucking company will.

If you are an injury victim seeking justice, contact the experienced team at Matthews Personal Injury Law by calling 813-530-1000. Matthews and his team are committed to enforcing personal injury justice and have the extensive verdict history to prove that commitment.