06 Feb Safety Tips for Driving Near Trucks
Most truck drivers are true professionals.Becoming a commercial vehicle driver is a challenging and difficult career with big rewards and big risks. Sadly, like all professions, a few bad drivers can really hurt public perception.South Carolina trucking accident lawyers know all too well the devastation that families experience when someone is injured by a careless truck driver. While there is certainly no way to prevent all accidents from happening, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family when driving near trucks. But you have to understand how big rigs operate. Most people on the road really don’t understand commercial vehicles. Here are the 5 things every driver should know about big rigs.
40 Tons is a Lot of Weight
Under the “bridge formula,” DOT regulates how much a vehicle can weigh when fully loaded. It’s not just the weight of the truck; it’s the combined weight of the vehicle and its load. Semi tractor-trailer combination vehicles must also make sure that weight is properly distributed over the axles. Otherwise, a truck can have trouble stopping and steering. Traditional tractor-trailer combinations may weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. That is 40 tons. A fully loaded truck traveling 55 miles per hour will take on average 6 seconds to stop on normal pavement. At that speed, it would take about 512 feet to stop. This braking distance is especially important to keep in mind when driving near trucks. Assuming a car length of about 20 feet, it would take about 25 car lengths to stop a fully loaded big rig.
Blind Spots Are Real
For most small passenger vehicle drivers, it can be difficult to really appreciate the blind spots on a tractor-trailer combination. Enclosed trucks are called “vans,” as opposed to tankers, flatbeds, and other types of rigs on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these are one of the most dangerous trucks on the road, because they have the largest blind spots. FMCSA has labeled the areas directly in front of, behind, and to the sides of big trucks as “no zones,” indicating that passenger vehicles should try not to drive in this area. When in the “no zones,” the truck driver simply cannot see you. It’s not the driver’s fault; it’s just the way the trucks are designed.
Truck Drivers are Paid by the Mile
With the exception of certain local drivers and smaller operations, the vast majority of over-the-road truck drivers are paid by the mile. This means the more miles they drive, the more money they make. While this may be a great business decision, it does create a certain incentive to drive more hours than what may be safe. Many drivers who have caused serious injuries or deaths by falling asleep at the wheel have later stated that they just couldn’t afford to stop. It’s sad that any worker would feel the need to risk his own life or others’ lives just to make a little more money, but it’s just human nature to push our limits.
Truckers Still Cheat Their Logs – Even New Electronic Logs
For decades, truck drivers were able to cheat the system and get around DOT operating hours by carrying multiple log books and doing other clever tricks to drive longer than allowed. With the creation of new electronic logs, this has become much harder. Trucks are now outfitted with satellite detection systems that pinpoint the truck’s location, communicate with the driver, and monitor the hours of operation. Still, some drivers (especially independent contractors) are becoming savvy at getting around these devices as well.
Big Trucks Are More Likely To Cause Injuries & Fatalities
Simply by virtue of their size, people hit by big rigs are more likely to be seriously injured or die. In 2015 alone, FMCSA reports that 4,050 big rigs were involved in collisions that resulted in deaths, and another 53,263 were involved in collisions that caused injuries.
Hurt By A Negligent Truck Driver?
Even careful driving near trucks isn’t enough to totally guard against accident or injury. If a careless and reckless truck driver has injured you or someone you love, then you have a right to be compensated. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC to schedule a free consultation today. There are strict limits on how long you can wait, so don’t delay.