Tractor-Trailer Accidents & How To Avoid Them

In 2011, there were over 3,500 deaths as a result of tractor-trailer accidents and 73,000 injuries.  According to the NHTSA, 76% of fatalities from tractor-trailer accidents were the occupants of the passenger vehicle. A traffic accident involving a large commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler, can have disastrous consequences. Certain known conditions tend to cause these tragic accidents every year. These include:

  • Size & Weight Difference: A tractor-trailer ranges from 12,100 to 80,000 pounds. This is more than 25 times heavier than the average vehicle. This is why it takes longer for a truck to stop than it does for a car. For example, a car traveling 55mph takes 265 feet to stop, while a tractor-trailer needs another 45 feet.
  • Fatigue: Truck drivers tend to drive hundreds of thousands of miles at a time. They also get paid by the mile, not the hour. Because of this, many drivers tend to drive for longer periods of time than they should. Their fatigue can result in serious and fatal accidents.
  • Driver Distractions: Driving for long hours at a time causes some truck drivers to become distracted and/or bored. Talking on the phone while driving, texting or eating can impair their driving.
  • Adverse Conditions: When roads are poorly maintained and the weather has created adverse road conditions, driving a truck can be extremely hazardous. It is harder to maintain control and stability in such a large and heavy vehicle.
  • Improper Weight Distribution: If a load is not properly distributed, the trailer can sway which can lead to tip-overs and serious injuries.
  • Traffic Flow: When passenger vehicles aggressively weave through traffic, tractor-trailers are sometimes forced to brake suddenly.

To learn more about our Truck Accident Trial group, visit our website. There are ways for you, as a passenger vehicle, to avoid tractor-trailer accidents. Here are some tips:

  • Beware of Blind Spots: The bigger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. Tractor-trailers have very large blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s side mirror, the driver most likely cannot see you either. If you plan on passing a tractor-trailer, make sure the truck driver can see you.
  • Don’t Change Lanes Abruptly: Any sudden motion in a truck driver’s periphery can cause the vehicle to respond unpredictably.
  • Avoid Getting Squeezed: When you’re at an intersection, tractor-trailers can sometimes make wide turns. Always let them go first to avoid getting squeezed and caught in the driver’s blind spot.
  • Keep a Safe Distance: Maintain a distance of 20 to 25 car lengths when you are behind a truck.
  • Give the Truck a Wider Berth Uphill: When driving on an incline behind a truck, always allow for more space in case the driver is struggling to shift gears and the truck starts to drift backwards.
  • Avoid Road Rage: If you believe that a tractor-trailer driver is driving too aggressively, don’t react negatively. Road rage only makes things worse for everyone on the road and increases your probability of an accident.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer, contact us immediately. Get more facts and safety tips by visiting State Farm’s Learning Center.

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In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP