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Beware of Tractor-Trailer Blind Spots

It’s common knowledge that accidents involving tractor-trailers (otherwise known as 18 wheelers and big rigs) can be deadly. Due to a large truck’s sheer weight and size (up to 80,000 pounds), drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles are disproportionately at risk of serious injury and death when involved in a collision involving a large truck. But what many people are not aware of are the multiple blind spots, on both sides and behind tractor trailers. Knowing that these blind spots are there, where they are located, and how to ensure that truck drivers can see your vehicle, may just save your life.

Avoid the “Danger Zones”

When driving beside or behind a tractor-trailer, avoiding the “danger zones” can dramatically reduce your chances of being involved in an accident. Danger zones are located:

  • 20 feet in front of the truck;
  • on both sides of the truck;
  • and 30 feet behind the truck.

Interestingly, the blind spot on a tractor-trailer’s left side is slightly smaller than that on the right. For this reason, it is usually safest to pass on the left side. A MA trucking accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large truck.

In addition to being aware of the blind spots, drivers of passenger vehicles should also take into account the extended time that it takes large trucks to come to a complete stop, up to 40 percent longer than passenger vehicles. If you find yourself in a truck’s danger zone, consider decelerating or accelerating (whichever option is safest) to remove yourself from the blind spot.

Trucking Accident Statistics

Trucking accidents kill thousands of people in the United States annually. Causes range from driver negligence to equipment failure. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a trucking accident.

  • In 2015, 3,852 people died in accidents involving large trucks.
  • About 69 percent of these fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles, while 16 percent were truck occupants, and 15 percent were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
  • The number of people killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2015 was up 22 percent from the lowest year on record, 2009.
  • Common causes of trucking accidents include, driver fatigue, improper truck maintenance, distracted driving, equipment failure, driver texting, speeding, and inadequate training.

In addition to avoiding “danger zones,” you can stay safe when driving near tractor-trailers by following the tips below:

  • Avoid making abrupt lane changes in front of a large truck.
  • Don’t maneuver to the right of a large truck while it is making a right-hand turn.
  • Misjudging the speed of an approaching truck at an intersection can be deadly; avoid making a left turn in this scenario.
  • When a large truck begins to change lanes, accelerate or decelerate as appropriate.
  • Beware of air turbulence and cross-wind when passing a truck.
  • Use caution when merging into traffic ahead of an oncoming truck.
  • Do not drive between two large trucks.
  • Never abandon a vehicle in a travel lane.
  • If your car breaks down, pull safely onto the shoulder of the road.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Accidents involving large trucks can be especially dangerous. When negligence played a role – on the part of the driver, the trucking company, or a parts manufacturer – you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated expenses. Personal injury claims involving large truck accidents are highly complex and require the help of an attorney with extensive experience in this area. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we will analyze the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy before moving forward. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can move on with your life. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.