It's no secret that semi-truck accidents can be deadly, especially when they involve an average motorist. The sheer size of commercial trucks (10,000 lbs up to 80,000 lbs) increases the magnitude of danger to other, smaller vehicles on the road: consider that the average passenger vehicle weighs only around 4,000 pounds, and it's easy to see why passenger vehicle occupants are extremely vulnerable to serious injury when they're involved in collisions with semi-trucks. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), approximately one out of 10 highway deaths occur in an accident involving a large commercial truck.
Sadly, many commercial truck accidents are completely preventable, occurring only because some tractor-trailer drivers fail to adhere to proper, legally-mandated accident prevention measures. Some common causes of semi-truck accidents include the following:
- DUI / DWI
- Driver fatigue
- Driver distraction
- Ignoring proper safety procedures
- Failure to perform proper repair, maintenance and safety inspections
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to use caution when backing up/moving in reverse
- Brake failure
- Other mechanical failure
- Tire blow out
- Overloaded trailers (carrying a load over the truck's weight limits)
- Shifting loads that unbalance the truck
So, what can Missouri motorists do to safeguard themselves and their passengers? As the saying goes, "the best offense is a good defense." This is particularly true when you're sharing the road with semis and tractor trailers. Our Missouri truck accident lawyers recommend driving defensively around big rigs at all times.
- Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and a large truck. If you see a trucker speeding, veering in and out of lanes, or otherwise driving aggressively, you'll want to give that truck a particularly wide berth.
- When you're traveling behind a semi, stay back far enough so that the driver can see you in his mirrors. Semi-trucks have large blind spots, so you should never assume the driver knows you're there.
- Never, ever cut off a semi-truck driver. You should make sure you can see both of the headlights in your rearview mirror before you merge into a lane front of a truck. Remember, a semi-truck can't maneuver the way a car can: they can't stop as quickly or turn as neatly.
- Always buckle up. It's the simplest, most effective way to reduce your risk of being injured in any kind of traffic collision.