How Drivers Can Help To Prevent Truck Accidents and Injuries
Trucking accidents in Florida are an unfortunately common occurrence and often involve injuries that are potentially life threatening, especially for drivers and passengers in motor vehicles. Even an above average sized car or SUV is no match for semi-tractor trailers and other big rigs in a crash or collision. While truck drivers and trucking companies are often to blame for these accidents, there are steps that you as a driver can take to avoid a collision.
How Truck Accidents Commonly Occur
According to the Florida Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES), which collects data on traffic accidents that occur throughout the state, there are more than 41,000 commercial vehicle accidents that occur each year in Florida, with close to 3,000 of these collisions occurring in the Palm Beach area. While some of these accidents involve charter buses and public transportation, the majority involve large trucks and tractor trailers.
It takes skills and experience to safely and successfully operate a cargo carrying vehicle, and the Federal Motor Vehicle Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that even with the proper training, crowded roads and highways make accidents more of a risk. Common types of behaviors on the part of truck drivers that make accidents more likely include:
- Speeding and driving too fast for conditions;
- Tailgating, failure to yield, and other aggressive driving behaviors;
- Distracted driving, such as using cell phones, texting, and eating or drinking behind the wheel;
- Using alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications;
- Driving while excessively fatigued and falling asleep behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, pressures from the trucking companies themselves can place a heavy burden on drivers, requiring them to carry extra heavy loads, to meet demanding time schedules, and failing to properly maintain and update their fleets, making trucking accidents and injuries more likely to occur.
Defensive Driving Tips To Prevent Truck Accidents
Whether you are following a tractor trailer, a large bus, or other type of commercial vehicle, there are things you can do as a driver to protect yourself and your passengers. The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following:
- Stay out of the ‘no zone’, the area behind and the sides of a truck where you are obscured from the driver’s view;
- Signal in advance if you intend to pass, and avoid passing on downgrades;
- Trucks take 40 percent longer to stop than other vehicles, so allow plenty of room;
- Trucks require plenty of room when making turns, and often venture into other lanes to do so. If their turn signal is on, do not attempt to pass or squeeze by them;
- Never tailgate a truck, and leave an extra car length when stopping behind them. Even a slight upgrade could cause the truck to roll back and collide with your vehicle.
In the event you or someone you love is injured in a truck accident, contact our West Palm Beach accident attorney right away. At the Wexler Law Firm, P.A., we have experience dealing with trucking companies, and understand the tactics they often use to avoid paying claims. Call or contact our office online today and request a free consultation to help ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.