Missouri semi-truck accidents can result in serious, life-threatening injuries,
especially when they involve smaller passenger vehicles that are no match
for these large trucks. The good news: when drivers are attentive and
proactive, many of these dangerous crashes can be prevented. In this post,
our Springfield personal injury lawyers discuss the importance of responsible,
defensive driving, especially when sharing the road with a semi.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified several behaviors in passenger vehicle drivers
that commonly contribute to collisions involving semi-trucks. According
to FMCSA officials, these behaviors fit into four key categories:
• Errors in judgment. FMCSA officials say inattention is the leading contributing factor in
semi-truck/ passenger vehicle accidents. Regardless of the source, driver
distraction inevitably leads to lapses in judgment - and when you're
traveling near a semi, running a red light or stop sign can be a deadly
mistake. The best way to avoid a collision is to stay completely focused
on the task of driving.
• Speed-related behaviors. The faster you're going, the less time you have to react when unexpected
situations present themselves - and compared to passenger vehicles, loaded
semi-trucks can require 20 to 40% farther to stop. Speed also affects
an accident's severity because it increases crash energy - in other
words, accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries when they
occur at high speeds. It's essential that drivers adjust their speed
for roadway conditions. Slow down when you're traveling in inclement
weather, passing through a construction zone, or dealing with heavy traffic,
and allow plenty of extra space, particularly when following a semi.
• Right-of-way or headway-related behaviors. Failing to yield the right-of-way to a large truck can be extremely dangerous.
Never cut off or pull out in front of a semi, because it may not be possible
for a trucker to slow down or stop in time to avoid hitting you. Assessing
headway (the distance between one vehicle and another approaching vehicle)
can also be difficult when it comes to large trucks. Because of their
size, semi-trucks can appear to be moving slower than they actually are.
Always err on the side of caution when passing, turning and crossing the
roadway in front of an oncoming semi.
• Lane change or position problems. FMCSA officials cite several risky behaviors that fall into this category,
including merging improperly and changing lanes abruptly in front of a
large truck. Remember that trucks handle very differently than passenger
vehicles, and they're often unable to execute sudden maneuvers. You'll
also want to avoid lingering in a semi's oversized blind spots - remember,
if you can't see a truck's side mirrors, the driver can't see you.
For more information about semi-truck accident prevention, check out FMCSA's
informational video for drivers, "The Unsafe Driving Acts of Motorists
in the Vicinity of Large Trucks."
At Aaron Sachs and Associates, our personal injury lawyers serve semi-truck
accident victims throughout the state of Missouri. 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've
been injured in a collision involving a large commercial truck, you may
be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages. Contact us today
to find out if we can help: call us toll-free at 1-888-777-AUTO, or click
here to submit our convenient online form.
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