Catastrophic, life-threatening injuries common in Missouri semi-truck accidents

768072_truck.jpgAs Missouri personal injury lawyers, we know that accidents involving semi-trucks commonly cause catastrophic, life-threatening injuries. Because of their immense size and weight, semi-trucks (and other commercial vehicles) handle differently than passenger cars and trucks. They require more time and space to speed up, to slow down, to turn and to stop. When a commercial truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the potential for damage is enormous - and it's not difficult to guess who usually gets hurt. In 2009 fatal crashes between passenger vehicles and large trucks, 98% of deaths were passenger vehicle occupants, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Facts about semi-trucks

• A semi-truck can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as an average passenger vehicle.

• A semi with a fully loaded trailer requires 20 to 40% further to stop than the average passenger vehicle.

• The chance of a semi-truck accident resulting in a fatality increases with every ton of extra weight added beyond 80,000 pounds.

Driving responsibly near big trucks

Give big trucks plenty of room. Don't follow too closely or encroach on the lane a large truck is traveling in. Allow even more space in inclement weather and at highway speeds.

Never cut in front of a semi-truck. Again, they simply can't stop as quickly as you can. If you try to force a large truck to stop suddenly, you could cause a serious, even fatal accident. When you pass a semi on the highway, wait until you can see the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before shifting back to the right lane.

Avoid what FMCSA authorities refer to as "squeeze play." Squeeze play occurs when a passenger vehicle attempts to cut between a semi-truck and the curb as the truck attempts to swing left and make a wide right turn.

Make yourself visible to truck drivers. Statistics indicate that about one-third of collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles occur in the truck's oversized blind spots. Semi-trucks don't have rearview mirrors, so truckers exclusively use their side mirrors to monitor nearby traffic. Remember that old rule of thumb: if you can't see a semi-truck's side mirrors, you should assume the driver can't see you. Don't linger in truckers' blind spots, also known as "No Zones," which are located along the side and immediately behind a semi-truck.

Pay attention to a truck's turn signals and brake lights. These signals indicate that a truck is about to perform a maneuver - and they may also indicate that a truck driver doesn't see you. Be alert and attentive when traveling near a semi.

For more information about large trucks and passenger vehicle safety, visit sharetheroadsafely.org.

Aaron Sachs and Associates is a personal injury law firm serving the victims of Missouri semi-truck accidents. Our firm maintains offices in Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Cape Girardeau and Kansas City, and we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. If you'd like to schedule an appointment, please call us toll-free at 1-888-777-AUTO, or click here to submit our easy-to-use "Do I Have a Case?" form. For your convenience, we are available 24/7/365.
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