Feb 26 2010

Truck Accidents and Unsafe Lane Changes

Each day many different vehicles share roads all over the world. The vehicles range from small cars and motorcycles to large semi-trucks. Tragically, there are many accidents involving trucks that cause serious injuries including death. One of the leading causes of truck accidents is unsafe lane changes.

Drivers of all vehicles types have become increasingly aggressive. Road rage is now a common term that most people not only understand, but have witnessed or experienced. They’ve seen the angry driver who weaves in and out of lanes, aggressively trying to get ahead of all the other vehicles on the road. When two cars that are relatively the same size collide it can cause serious and fatal accidents. When one of the vehicles is a truck it is almost certain that there will be a fatality.

Sometimes a collision between a truck and a smaller vehicle is caused by the driver of the smaller vehicle. There are some car drivers who do not give a truck driver enough room when they change a lane. They don’t understand or appreciate that a truck traveling at a high rate of speed is not able to stop as quickly as a car driver. These drivers dart in front of trucks when they see a little space. If the traffic continues to move they may be okay. But if the traffic in front suddenly slows or stop, the truck behind them may be too close to them to avoid hitting the car.

Car and motorcycle drivers have to respect the truck and be sure they only move in front of a fast-moving truck when they can do so safely. This means waiting until there is enough room and distance before moving over. They also must realize that truck drivers have a limited sight so that they cannot assume the truck driver sees them when they are behind them or moving up on the side. They need to stay out of the truck driver’s blind side.

Truck drivers also cause accidents when they make unsafe lane changes. While they may not weave in and out as often, there are drivers who abruptly move into a lane in an unsafe manner. Some do this because they have not had proper training or the drivers are inexperienced.

But some truck drivers change lanes aggressively, to intimidate another driver. They may have been cut off and they want to get back at the driver. They may be trying to make up lost time, and are changing lanes so they can drive faster. While car and motorcycle drivers are able to stop faster than trucks, it may not be enough to avoid an accident.

Truck drivers are required to get additional training and a special license to drive a truck. Many states in the U.S. also have extra rules that apply only to truck drivers, including laws that pertain to unsafe lane changes. These laws include following too closely and passing on the right. All drivers must understand the potential for fatal accidents when they make unsafe and aggressive lane changes.

This article should not be construed as legal advice or counsel.

Related Legal Tools: If you would like additional information about truck regulations and common truck-related negligence visit TruckAccidentLaw.org


Oct 30 2009

Bad Weather & Truck Accidents

There are many things that truck drivers can do to avoid collisions. They can ensure that their truck is in good working condition, including their braking system. Drivers can check their tires before a trip and throughout to make sure they are properly inflated and the tires are not worn. They can practice defensive driving and safe techniques out on the road, and they can make sure they have the proper amount of sleep. But drivers have no control over bad weather.

Truck drivers often drive hundreds of miles each day and in that time can see a wide variety of weather conditions. Usually they can handle most conditions and it is important that all truck drivers are taught safe techniques for driving in bad weather.

Truck drivers should study their daily routes and check weather reports before heading out. They should have some idea of the weather conditions they may be driving into. There are several weather situations that are particularly serious and can lead to a greater number of accidents. These are times that truck drivers may want to get off the road.

Poor Visibility

One of the most important factors for any driver is to be able to see the road and the other vehicles on it. There are many different weather conditions that hamper visibility. These include heavy rain or sleet, snow blizzards, and thick fog. In these conditions vehicles often become “invisible”. Even with lights and reflectors trucks and cars may not be able to see one another. It is important to drive slowly, with extreme caution, and consider getting off the road if possible.

Unsafe Road Surfaces

Precipitation can often be a challenge. Rain and snow can make road surfaces slick and slippery. It is often hard for vehicles to get proper traction. In some colder climates, black ice forms on road surface. It gets its name from the fact that it is practically invisible, so drivers do not realize they are driving on ice until they begin to slip. These road conditions can be extremely dangerous and truck drivers need to determine if they can continue safely or if they should pull off.

High Winds

Excessive winds can be very dangerous. Car drivers may have trouble maintaining control of their vehicles, and may be blown in from of other traffic. Because they have a different center of gravity, it may be even more difficult for truck drivers to control their rigs. Extreme winds can also shift loads which can lead to rollovers. Many states will ban trucks and other large vehicle, such as buses or RVs, from traveling if they feel the winds are too severe.

While many truck drivers do not want to stop and get behind schedule, there are going to be times that the weather is too severe to continue. The trucking industry and trucking companies should support the drivers by recognizing that sometimes the safest technique to do is to get the truck off the road. Practicing good judgment may keep both the driver and the company from being held liable in the event of a severe weather truck accident.

This article is not intended for legal advice.

Continued Legal Sources: TruckAccidentLaw.org. Serving clients in North Florida and nationwide.