Modern transportation relies heavily on highways to move goods and people over long distances. Highways offer speedy and convenient travel, but they also present increased risks of accidents, especially involving large commercial vehicles. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of some safety tips to avoid truck accidents on the highway.
Truck accidents are among the deadliest on highways, causing severe injuries and lasting effects. According to the US Department of Transportation, 4,965 people died, and 146,930 were injured in large truck crashes in 2020. Moreover, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s 2021 survey revealed that around 42,915 more people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021 than in 2020, an increase of 10.5%.
These data highlight the problem’s importance and the necessary precautions to prevent truck accidents on highways. We will cover four suggestions in this post to assist drivers in staying safe on the road and avoiding truck accidents.
But before that, let’s discuss what to do in case of a truck accident.
Seek Legal Expertise
To learn more about the rules and laws regulating truck accidents and what to do in the case of an accident, you may speak with legal experts at truck accident law firms. A legal expert can advise you on steps to protect your rights and interests, such as documenting the accident scene, assembling evidence, and contacting the relevant authorities.
Lawyers specializing in truck accident legal claims have access to the resources, experience, and staff members to help truck accident victims navigate the complex legal traffic system in your state and provide legal counsel.
Now, here are the suggestions on how to avoid truck accidents on the highway.
1. Be Mindful of the Blind Spots
Due to the size of large trucks, there could be blind spots or ‘no zones‘ around the truck where the driver cannot see. The size and areas of these blind spots can vary depending on the truck’s size, shape, and type. However, they typically include areas around and behind the truck and the immediate front.
It is crucial to remain mindful of these blind spots for the truck driver and other drivers on the road to reduce the probability of accidents. Try maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, especially on the sides and rear. Other vehicle drivers must ensure not to pass the truck on the right side, as it can increase the possibility of a collision. Similarly, avoid overtaking a truck on the left side of the highway.
Additionally, it is important for large truck drivers not to switch lanes frequently or carelessly, especially when carrying very heavy cargo. Making sudden lane switches with blind spots can increase the probability of collision.
2. Avoid Distractions
Distractions are one of the leading causes of truck accidents on the highway. Truck drivers who spend long hours on the road are more susceptible to distractions. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration reported 5,237 trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes in 2019, a major factor of which was distractions.
Distractions can include texting, eating, or switching the radio channel while driving. It is better to eat and drink while taking a break from driving. Moreover, pressure from employers to deliver on time by cutting corners leads to exhaustion and difficulty concentrating on the road. Therefore, it is essential to stay rested and alert while driving.
Similarly, if you need to use the phone or any other device, make sure to pull over in a safe location. If other passengers are in the vehicle, ensure they wear seatbelts to avoid unnecessary distractions. For younger kids, it is better to have a car seat to ensure their comfort and safety in huge buses and trucks.
3. Maintain Your Vehicle
Your vehicle maintenance is crucial to ensure a safe and smooth journey, especially when driving on the same road as other heavy commercial vehicles. A poorly maintained vehicle can increase the chances of breakdowns and malfunctions, leading to hazards and accidents.
Regular vehicle maintenance includes changing the vehicle’s oils and fluids like coolants and transmission fluids, adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules, checking and changing the tires when necessary, and inspecting the brakes before each trip. It will ensure smooth and safe operation on the highway.
Other safety checkpoints include headlights, taillights, rearview and front mirrors. Consult a licensed technician immediately if you sense any odd noises, smells, or warning lights.
Following safety protocols in vehicle maintenance is essential to ensure your safety and others on the highway.
4. Use Turn Signals
Turn signals let other drivers know what you intend to do and aid in avoiding collisions brought on by abrupt lane changes or turns, and this is a critical aspect of safe truck driving.
Use your turn signals well before any turns or lane changes when driving on the highway. It provides other motorists, notably truck drivers, ample time to modify their speed and position. Avoid swerving in and out of traffic and making abrupt lane changes since these actions can increase the likelihood of collisions and put everyone on the road in danger.
When overtaking big commercial vehicles, turning signals are especially crucial. Trucks require more room and time to respond to unexpected movements than smaller vehicles, and they have a greater stopping distance.
Proper turn signals also improve traffic flow when other drivers anticipate the truck’s movements. It facilitates a more predictable traffic flow and lessens the possibility of collisions brought on by abrupt lane changes or turns.
Since truck accidents have been increasing nationwide, especially on highways, following some safety tips and guidelines is crucial, especially if carrying heavy and precious cargo.
Consulting a legal professional can be beneficial for learning about highway traffic rules and laws. Moreover, the legal team can assist you in case a truck accident occurs and get you the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, be mindful of blind spots, avoid distractions, maintain your vehicle, and use turn signals.
Truck driving can be trickier than other vehicle driving. Therefore, taking extra safety precautions will ensure your other others’ safety on the highway.