Semi-trucks are integral to our economy, as they deliver over 70% of the goods transported across America. Semi-trucks are essential to our way of life, but they can also be incredibly dangerous. Their sheer size and weight threaten other motorists, and matters are made even worse when a poorly trained driver operates one.
Knowing more about the dangers of semi trucks can help you avoid an accident the next time you take to the interstate. However, even the most cautious drivers can get into an accident when sharing the road with a poorly maintained or improperly operated semi-truck. If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, an attorney can help you pursue compensation.
Dangers of Semi Trucks
There are many dangerous aspects of the semi-truck that you should be aware of if you want to avoid an accident. Understanding how to drive safely near a semi-truck can also reduce your liability if one happens to collide with you. Here’s what you need to know about the hazards of semi trucks to stay safe and avoid being held liable for an 18-wheeler accident:
Semi Trucks Have Blind Spots
Semi-trucks have multiple blind spots, also referred to as “no zones,” where operators have no visibility. If you’re driving near a semi-truck, remember never to cut them off, as they can’t see directly in front of their vehicle.
18-wheeler drivers also can’t see the space immediately behind their vehicle, which makes tailgating a semi-truck very dangerous. Lastly, Semi truck drivers have no zones on both sides of their vehicle, so try your best not to drive alongside one for too long.
Wide Turns Are Commonplace for 18-Wheelers
Since semi trucks are exceptionally long, they often have to make wide turns. It’s not uncommon for other motorists to see a semi-truck making a wide turn, think that the driver is changing lanes, and try to cut into their lane. Cutting into a large vehicle’s lane is a recipe for disaster and another reason why driving near a semi-truck can be so dangerous.
Speed and Weight Also Makes Semi Trucks Dangerous
Due to the vehicle’s notoriously poor handling, semi-truck drivers often have trouble navigating the road with precision. Their lack of maneuverability is even more dangerous when 18-wheelers reach high speeds, as stopping short and avoiding obstacles becomes virtually impossible.
Always make sure to drive carefully around semi-trucks and give them ample space. They can’t react to obstacles as quickly as you can, so getting in their way is a surefire way to get into an accident and sustain an injury.
Semi-trucks are also tremendously heavy vehicles, some weighing 20 times more than the typical automobile. Colliding with an 18-wheeler is sure to cause significant damage to your car and life-threatening injuries to you and your passengers. With all the dangers and risks that come with driving near a semi-truck, it’s best to stay alert and whenever you pass one.
Negligent Semi Truck Drivers Can Also Cause Collisions
When a negligent driver operates a semi-truck, the vehicle becomes even more dangerous. Stay clear of 18-wheeler operators that exhibit the following reckless driving behaviors:
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving while distracted or using a cell phone
- Exceeding speed limit
- Driving aggressively
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you’re driving on the highway and see a semi-truck driver who is going too fast, looking at their phone, or clearly intoxicated, pull over at the next rest stop or turn. Reporting the driver to local law enforcement will help others avoid a dangerous semi-truck collision.
What to Do if You’ve Been in an Accident With a Semi Truck
No matter how much you educate yourself on the dangers of semi trucks, there’s always the chance that a careless driver will hit you. If that happens, there are a few steps you can take to improve your chance of receiving compensation for your injuries and other losses.
If your injuries are severe, you’ll want to seek medical attention first and worry about compensation later. However, if your injuries are mild, try to complete the following steps:
- Exchange information. Write down the driver’s contact information and insurance details. Your attorney can use this information to hold the driver accountable for your medical bills and other losses.
- Call the police. You should call law enforcement whenever you get into an auto accident. The police will write up a report that can be used later to bolster your insurance claim.
- Take photos. Take photos of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the semi-truck you collided with. Your lawyer can use these photos to prove that the semi-truck driver damaged your car and caused you to sustain injury.
- Call an attorney. Call an attorney as soon as you can. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003 requires that victims pursuing a lawsuit for a semi-truck collision submit their suit within two years of the accident date. While there are exceptions to Texas’ statute of limitations, hiring a lawyer soon will increase your chances of receiving compensation.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel pain immediately after the accident, you must see a doctor. The shock from a semi-truck accident can mask serious injuries, so it’s important to find out if you have an injury that you haven’t noticed yet.
Contact an Attorney to Pursue Compensation After a Semi Truck Accident
Semi-trucks can cause dangerous accidents and serious injuries. If you’ve been hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you deserve to receive compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and emotional suffering you’ve been forced to endure.
A lawyer from the Buzbee Law Firm can help you get the money you need by filing a personal injury claim on your behalf. They’ll gather evidence relevant to your accident, construct a claim, and bring it to the semi-truck driver’s insurance company to negotiate a settlement. Contact us today to get started on your semi-truck accident claim.