Indiana has a dismal record when it comes to trucking safety. The state ranked as one of the top 10 for truck and bus fatalities during the 2012 – 2014 period, with 112 fatalities in 2012, 117 fatalities in 2013, increasing to a total of 129 fatalities in 2014. That makes it an average of more than 119 fatalities in large truck and bus accidents in Indiana during this period of time, and a staggering 10.3% increase over these three years.
Many truck accidents are caused by speeding truck drivers, truckers driving while fatigued, and driver distractions. As a motorist on Indiana’s roads, what can you do to stay safe when sharing the highway with these massive vehicles?
For one thing, you can become an educated and informed driver. As a motorist traveling on the highways and byways of the state, there is no excuse for you not to be aware of the various dangers that you must know of when you’re driving anywhere around a tractor-trailer or a semi-rig.
Educate yourself about the blind zones or no- zones that exist around a large truck. These exist around the front, the sides, as well as the back of the truck. Follow this simple golden rule: If you cannot see the truck driver in his rear view mirror, assume that he cannot see you either. Avoid these blind spots, and if you are already in a blind spot, try to drive out of it and get into a “visibility zone” quickly. Remember, that a truck driver cannot avoid you if he cannot see you.
Be extra careful when you’re trying to pass a large truck. Don’t accelerate to speed around one. Make sure that you can see the truck driver in his rear view mirror when you pass him. Give clear signals, and drive past the truck quickly and safely. Don’t linger unnecessarily round a truck for too long.
Never cut off a large truck. Remember, a large truck trailer takes a much longer time to come to a complete stop, compared to a smaller vehicle. The truck may not stop in time to avoid your car. As you are cutting the truck off, you will likely be in one of the blind spots of the truck driver, and he may not see you. The result could be the possibly of a serious accident.
Never drive too close behind a truck. If you’re driving behind a truck, driver cannot see you in his rear view mirror. If the driver slams on the brake, there is a risk that you will rear-end the truck, and this is especially dangerous for the occupant of a small passenger car, because the car could possibly slide under the back of the truck. There is a serious risk of severe head injuries or even decapitation in an accident like this.
Overall, be aware of blind spots, don’t tailgate trucks, and don’t spend too much time lingering around the sides of the truck than is necessary, and you could increase your chances of avoiding an accident.
The Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in truck accidents across Indiana. Truck accidents are serious events and there is a limited amount of time to file a claim if you are injured. Don’t delay.