Due to their size and weight, a crash with a truck is likely to end with serious injuries or fatalities. Although 18-wheelers are now manufactured with advanced safety features, truck accidents continue to cause an alarming number of traffic deaths every year. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, more than 4,100 people died in large truck wrecks in 2019.
If you were injured or lost a family member due to a negligent truck driver in Alabama, contact the personal injury lawyers at the Morris Bart law office. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages. You can get a free initial consultation with a Birmingham auto accident lawyer from our team today.
Five Common Scenarios that Lead to Fatal Truck Wrecks
While many contributing factors can lead to deadly injuries in a tractor-trailer-versus-car collision, drivers must recognize the ones in their control and work to avoid putting themselves in those situations. This can reduce the risk of a crash and prevent even minor injuries. Some ways motorists can trigger or contribute to truck accidents include:
Sudden Lane Changes
Semi-trucks require a longer stopping distance, so it is never safe to change lanes in front of an 18-wheeler suddenly. Before you pull in front of a tractor-trailer, make sure you can see both of its headlights in your rear-view mirror. This is especially true in rain or freezing weather when stopping distances are even longer.
Take extra caution any time you move in front of or behind a tractor-trailer or move to pass. The driver may not be aware of you, which could increase the possibility of a collision if they do not adequately check the adjacent lanes before deciding to move over.
Entering Blind Spots
Large trucks have much bigger blind spots than smaller cars. Although commercial vehicles have specialized mirrors to help drivers survey their blind spots, you should never assume that a trucker has seen your vehicle. Instead, drive defensively and avoid staying directly in front of, behind, or beside the cab or trailer when possible.
Data from the Large Truck Crash Causation studyshows that approximately 10 percent of large truck wrecks are same-direction side-swipe collisions. You can avoid these crashes by minimizing your time spent driving in trucks’ blind spots.
While the exact location of blind spots can differ depending on the driver, their mirrors, and other factors, the best advice is to ensure their side mirrors are always visible to you. If you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you.
Turbulence from Trucks
Commercial trucks are so large that they displace the air around them. This causes turbulence for adjacent vehicles, which can contribute to accidents. Before you overtake a large truck, downshift if possible, and make sure you have a firm grip on the steering wheel. This will help you maintain stability until you pass the turbulence.
If you drive a car with an automatic transmission, keep both hands on the wheel and focus on passing the truck and getting out of the disturbed air. This turbulence affects some vehicles more than others, so you will likely adapt to the way you need to handle your car sharing the road with large trucks. However, remember to consider this issue when you are driving another vehicle.
In wet weather, large trucks can spray a great deal of water behind them. This can impair your visibility and cause a crash. You can avoid this situation by maintaining a safe following distance of at least six seconds when driving on the highway. If you are still getting covered in spray, drop back further or move to an adjacent lane.
Your windshield wipers cannot overcome the volume of water an 18-wheeler can throw from a standing puddle or during heavy rain. The best option is to stay back far enough to prevent the majority of the spray from hitting your vehicle in the first place.
Trucks require a wide angle to turn, so they often must enter adjacent lanes when cornering. Drivers should slow down and keep their distance from trucks that are turning.
Especially at a red light where there are multiple lanes, truck drivers next to you may not be able to see your car. If you do not give the truck enough space when turning, it could hit you.
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Know What to Do if You Are Hurt in a Birmingham Truck Accident
If you suffer injuries in a Birmingham 18-wheeler accident, getting treatment for your injuries should be a priority. However, your next step will likely be considering how to pay your bills. The best way to assess your options may be to speak with an attorney who can explain your situation and how they can help you seek money damages.
You may be able to file an insurance claim against the driver and/or their employer or sue them to recover the money you need to pay for:
- Current and future medical care
- Lost income, including future losses if you cannot return to work
- Property damages, including to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
Speak to a Truck Accident Attorney from Our Team Today
Unfortunately, even the safest drivers can suffer injuries due to negligent truckers. If you were hurt or lost a family member due to a drunk, distracted, or reckless truck driver, turn to a truck accident lawyer in Birmingham, AL from the Morris Bart law firm.
An accident attorney in Birmingham will evaluate your case, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and aggressively represent your interests. Our legal team will help you avoid mistakes such as accepting a low settlement or making recorded statements to insurance adjusters. Call now for a free initial consultation.
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