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Unsafe Acts by Auto Drivers Can Cause Trucking Accidents in Atlanta

April 13, 2015

Nearly one in every eight traffic deaths involves a commercial semi-truck, and in the past decade the number of 18-wheelers involved in fatal crashes rose by almost ten percent. Because a 5,000 pound car is no match for a 35,000 + pound truck, over three-quarters of those injured and over 85% of those killed in a large truck collision are driver of the passenger vehicle. Many times the truck driver walks away, relatively unharmed, from an accident, which resulted in fatalities for those in the smaller vehicle.

While much has been written about the potential causes of truck vs. passenger vehicle accidents, with most of the blame being assigned to the truckers, there are instances when an unsafe act by an automobile driver can be the catalyst for a serious or fatal accident. Most especially on major highways and at higher speeds, even an error that appears relatively insignificant were it to occur between two passenger vehicles can be a tragedy when a truck is involved. Often the drivers of smaller vehicles do not fully understand the limits of a large semi-truck, including visibility and braking limitations.

  • Don't change lanes suddenly in front of a semi-truck. It is almost impossible for the driver of an 18-wheeler to slow down suddenly and avoid hitting you if you change lanes directly in front of him.
  • There are certain areas directly behind and on the side of commercial trucks where the driver literally cannot see you at all—avoid these "no-zone" areas when you can, but be super-aware of the visibility limitations of the driver. If you see a big truck changing lanes or merging, remember the driver's sight limitations, and either slow down or speed up—in any case, get out of his way as safely as possible.
  • Many drivers severely misjudge a big rig's speed and ability to stop suddenly, and will make a left turn in front of a truck approaching an intersection. While you might get away with this with another passenger vehicle who could come to an abrupt stop, you won't be so lucky with a truck. Other drivers will pull into traffic from the roadside directly in front of a truck without sufficient acceleration. In the same vein, when you merge into traffic directly in front of a semi, the driver is forced to try to maneuver or brake quickly—which might they may not be able to do successfully.
  • Driving in between two big trucks is always a no-no, and is simply asking for trouble. Some would say that you've effectively doubled your chances of being involved in an accident with the truck, and will also have to deal with the buffeting winds from the two large vehicles.
  • If you are ever faced with having to abandon a disabled vehicle, make certain you are sufficiently off the roadway, so a large truck doesn't end up striking your vehicle, causing a potentially serious accident.

While commercial vehicles are absolutely essential to our economy, and most truck drivers are trained professionals who are courteous and conscientious, the dangers these large vehicles present are very real when they must share the road with passenger vehicles.  Unfortunately, some of this danger comes from those commercial truck drivers who are inadequately trained, are suffering from driver fatigue, alcohol and substance abuse or are traveling at excessive speeds in order to meet a deadline, yet drivers of passenger vehicles are also responsible at least some of the time. If you have been involved in an accident involving a semi-truck, you should contact an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney who has had extensive experience in pursuing injury or death settlements from trucking companies.

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Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.