Episode 20: Calloway County Injury Attorney Jeff Roberts discusses tractor trailer accidents and safe driving tips to help you drive safely on the roads this summer.
As the summer season gets underway, people get excited and look forward to hitting the roads on vacation or quick weekend trips. As you and your family do so, it’s important to remember the risks associated with driving around tractor trailers. The size and weight of these large trucks can make it a dangerous situation if people aren’t paying attention.
The reaction time of a large truck is much different than what you experience in your car. This applies regardless of whether you are traveling in the same or opposite direction, on an interstate or county road. You must understand they simply can’t maneuver as easily as other vehicles.
Jeff describes his own experience watching cars cut in front of semis and suddenly begin applying the brakes, because the traffic is beginning to slow. The truck can’t possibly react as quickly as drivers might assume. The required stopping distance is an important factor. This can lead to a devastating tractor trailer collision, sometimes resulting in a fatal accident.
8 Safe Driving Tips to Remember
Tip #1: When changing lanes, wait until you can see the car in your rear-view mirror, before you move over. This can help to ensure there’s enough distance. Your side-view mirrors can fool you.
Tip #2: Always use your blinkers when changing lanes, especially around large trucks. It will alert the other driver as to your intention. They can prepare for the lane change.
When tractor trailers, flatbeds or other box trucks are carrying freight on an incline, their speed will reduce more quickly than sometimes anticipated. The brake lights won’t activate to warn you. If you’re following too closely, you could be at risk of an accident.
Tip #3: Allow more distance between your vehicle and a semi-truck when approaching an incline.
Blind spots create a significant risk. These spots are substantially larger for a truck. The exist on the sides, front and rear.
Tip #4: Avoid driving in a tractor trailer’s blind spots. This would be a good topic to discuss with your young drivers.
Tip #5: If your vehicle doesn’t already have them, consider purchasing blind spot mirrors to assist you in seeing the other cars. Those mirrors are widely available and relatively inexpensive.
Our area of the country experiences a lot of rain showers during the summertime. This requires an increase in your stopping distance. The rain may also make it harder to see other vehicles on the road.
Tip #6: If your windshield wipers are on, make sure your headlights are on. Even if you can see, the lights help other drivers to see you. Remember, even if you have your running lights on your taillights may not be on. Rain often makes it more difficult for approaching drivers to see you, so turn on your headlights if it’s raining.
Tip #7: Remember that the rain on the surface of the road could cause you to hydroplane. You should always increase your stopping distance and/or following distance during poor weather conditions.
Tip #8: Take time to periodically check to verify all of your lights are working properly. This is especially important if you’re pulling trailer behind your vehicle. Ensure both the vehicle and the trailer are in proper working condition.
Tractor Trailer Safety
Truck drivers (“CDL Drivers”) have advanced training if the safe operation of their vehicles. Jeff Roberts discusses some of the safety requirements for CDL Drivers. They are required to perform a safety inspection of the rig, prior to taking it on the road. This includes the lights and brakes, among other things. Some are also required to have specific decals to make the truck and trailer more visible. Tires need to be properly maintained in terms of air pressure and tread wear. Other risks occur with the trailer is improperly loaded and/or secured.
Jeff discusses Kentucky’s comparative fault system. If it can be proven that the non-truck driver’s actions are proven to have contributed to the collision and resulting damages, a percentage of the fault will be assigned to that driver. This can drastically reduce the amount of the settlement or verdict. Collisions are always, or purely, the trucker’s fault. We all have a responsibility to drive safely on the roads this summer.
For more information, visit www.JeffRobertsLaw.com. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.