Truckers and Passenger Cars: Sharing the Road
July 12, 2017
Many motorists will go to great lengths to avoid traveling alongside large trucks, such as avoiding highways or driving at certain times of the day. However, large trucks are inescapable, as big-rigs are responsible for transporting more than 10 billion tons of freight throughout the United States each year, representing $700.4 billion in goods according to the American Trucking Association. As a result, the commercial trucking industry is a key contributor to our domestic economy and a reliable method of ensuring the delivery of supplies, food, and other items.
At the same time, large trucks, due to their shape and size, can pose a danger to nearby passenger vehicles. A fully-loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, compared to a sedan’s average weight of 4,000 pounds. This difference in size not only puts passenger vehicles at risk in the event of a collision, but also makes a truck accident more likely to occur when a commercial truck is unable to stop in time or navigate around an obstacle. Motorists that share the road with tractor trailers should always proceed with caution. Following are important steps that can be taken to mitigate the risk of being involved in a trucking accident.
Blind Spots and Other Hazards Posed by the Shape and Size of Large Trucks
The long shape of the hood on a commercial truck makes it difficult to see smaller cars traveling directly in front of them. As a result, drivers who find themselves with little space on the road should pull over and let a large truck pass rather than allowing themselves to be tailgated. Additionally, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, motorists should avoid the blind spot that exists between the middle of a truck’s cab and the middle of its trailer. If a large truck must be passed in the left-hand lane, drivers should do so safely but quickly, so that they are visible to the driver of a large truck.
Similarly, the passenger side of a large truck is no place for a passenger vehicle to linger. When trucks turn, it may become necessary to venture into adjacent lanes. If a truck driver is unaware that the right-hand lane is occupied, the trailer may swing into the lane and force a smaller vehicle off the road.
Lastly, drivers must always maintain a safe following distance behind a large truck. When a passenger vehicle rear-ends a large truck, it can cause catastrophic injuries for the car’s occupants, especially if the car becomes wedged under the trailer. Additionally, if a trailer is improperly loaded or poorly secured, nearby motorists can become injured if the contents of a trailer spill out onto the road. By always staying at least 500 feet from a large truck, passenger vehicles are better positioned to avoid danger.
Philadelphia Trucking Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger Seek Justice for Truck Accident Victims
Although it is possible for large trucks and passenger vehicles to peacefully coexist, it requires cooperation on the part of both drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a large truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Galfand Berger by submitting an online inquiry or by calling 800-222-8792. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.