While fender benders that slow down your daily commute can be annoying, truck accidents can pose a much more serious threat to everyone on the road.
This past May, an 18-wheeler traveling on Interstate 20 collided with an overhead sign, causing the truck to flip and catch fire. The accident caused a second crash that involved three additional vehicles and resulted in the closure of the nearby roadway. Flames from the accidents quickly spread to the nearby grassy median putting additional commuters in danger.
While the truck driver escaped injury, several other drivers were hurt and transported to the hospital. This recent truck accident in Texas is one example of why truckers need to be so cautious on the roads, and why the trucking industry needs to be strictly regulated.
These Big Crashes Are A Big Problem For Texas
Unfortunately, Texas is among the 10 states with the highest average number of fatal large truck and bus crashes between 2014-2016. While we proclaim that “everything is bigger in Texas” this is one of those times when it isn’t something for which we should feel proud.
To effectively address and decrease the number of these accidents, the Department of Transportation must first examine the causes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists various causes for the high rate of big accidents:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Brake issues
- Drivers who are unfamiliar with the road
Additionally, truckers traveling through Texas must contend with heavy traffic in highly populated urban areas and an increase in overall truck traffic due to the oil and fracking industries.
Saving Lives on the Road
The Texas Department of Transportation recommends drivers of smaller vehicles consider these recommendations for sharing the road with large trucks:
- Pass carefully. Remember, trucks take longer to accelerate and decelerate than the average passenger vehicle. That means you should never cut in front of a truck or brake suddenly when driving in front of one. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, a truck takes considerably longer to slow or stop safely. TxDOT recommends leaving at least four car-lengths between the back of your car and the front of any large truck.
- Avoid the “No Zone.” Large trucks have four blind spots called the “No Zone” in which passenger vehicles disappear from the driver’s view. These spots include one car-length or less directly behind or in front of a truck, and on either side of the truck if you’re in a spot in which you cannot see the driver’s reflection in his or her side mirror. Remember, if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
- Don’t tailgate. This is sound advice no matter who you’re driving behind but is especially important when following a truck. Because trucks don’t have impact-absorbing bumpers, a rear end collision can be especially severe. TxDOT recommends you leave 20-25 car-lengths between your vehicle and the truck. This will allow you ample time to slow or stop, as well as an unrestricted view ahead of the truck to see any changes in road or driving conditions up ahead.
Following A Truck Accident, You Need Informed, Experienced Support
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, you need professional legal representation from truck accident specialists. At Ted B. Lyon & Associates, we know these types of cases can be complicated, and we’re here to help. Call 800-TedLyon or email us to schedule your free consultation. We even offer home and hospital consultations for those unable to visit our office.