Safety tips to help Texans lower their risk of large truck accidents

Texas drivers who are aware of issues with blind spots, following distance and intersection maneuvers may be less likely to experience truck accidents.

Large truck accidents represent a huge threat to drivers in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2014 alone, trucks and other commercial vehicles were involved in over 33,000 local crashes. Altogether, more than 6,000 of these crashes resulted in confirmed injuries, and 508 fatal truck accidents claimed at least one person's life.

The high rate of these accidents is a cause for concern for many people in Mesquite. This is especially true since truck traffic is only likely to increase as the economy improves. Given this ongoing risk, it is essential for drivers to understand the steps that they can take to reduce their likelihood of involvement in a large truck crash.

Avoid the 'No-Zones'

Large trucks have four blind spots that are significantly larger than those of other vehicles, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Drivers can reduce their risk of accidents by avoiding these "No-Zones." Since the largest blind spot falls on the right side of the truck, drivers should never pass on this side. Drivers should also remember that if they cannot see a trucker's face in the rearview mirror, they have entered a blind spot.

Allow adequate stopping distance

Passenger vehicle drivers are also less likely to be involved in large truck crashes if they avoid following closely behind large trucks. Cars that are driving immediately behind large trucks are often in the rear blind spot, and according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, they risk the following problems:

  • Experiencing accidents because the truck obstructs their view of signs, oncoming traffic or changing traffic conditions
  • Hitting debris or other road hazards that the truck was able to drive over
  • Experiencing a rear-end collision, which may result in an under-ride crash

Drivers should give similar consideration to stopping distance when passing large trucks. These vehicles, which greatly outweigh passenger vehicles, may need twice as much time to stop, according to TDOT. This makes a larger following distance necessary. Drivers should avoid reducing this distance by cutting in close in front of trucks. TDOT recommends that drivers only move into a truck's lane if they can see the whole truck in the rearview mirror.

Leave space for turns

Near intersections and junctions, drivers should be careful to allow adequate space for trucks to maneuver. According to CDOT, trucks typically swing wide in one direction to facilitate a turn in the opposite direction. Drivers should refrain from passing trucks in the middle of a turn, as this can place drivers in a blind spot and increase the risk of a collision. When approaching intersections, drivers should stop behind the white markings to ensure that trucks have adequate room to navigate the intersection.

Know what to do after accidents

Unfortunately, these defensive driving techniques may not protect motorists from every large truck accident. While some accidents may involve errors on the part of both drivers, about 30 percent of large truck crashes can be attributed solely to the actions of truckers, according to CNBC. This suggests that thousands of Texans may suffer injuries each year in accidents that they were helpless to avoid.

In these situations, compensation may be available to injury victims, provided that the accident occurred due to negligence on the part of the other driver. However, establishing fault clearly is crucial in these cases, since injury victims who contribute to accidents cannot receive full compensation in Texas. For further information about legal remedies, injury victims may want to consider consulting with a truck accident attorney.