Washington, D.C., drivers are well aware of the vast amount of semi-trucks with which they share the roads. Though large trucks are an essential asset to everyone’s way of life, they can also be quite dangerous.
Large trucks only make up about 4% of roadway traffic, but they are involved in 1 out of 10 traffic deaths. If you know why most of these accidents happen, you can better avoid personal injury involving semi-trucks.
Why semi-truck accidents happen
Because semis can weigh up to 80 tons, personal injuries in these accidents can be devastating and deadly. Driver error, including speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield and driving impaired, is the top reason for most of these fatal crashes.
Truck driver fatigue is another leading cause of accidents. Drivers are often on the roads for long periods of time and do not sleep as long as they should, which can result in drivers falling asleep at the wheel. In order to minimize this, the federal government has incorporated limitations for truck drivers. Truckers can only drive for 11 hours before stopping for at least a 10-hour break. They must also take at least a 30-minute break every eight hours.
Additionally, construction zones are especially dangerous with narrowed lanes, slowed or stopped traffic and mergers. Semi-trucks need almost 50% more space to fully stop than a car. When traffic slows quickly, it is difficult for a truck to stop in time.
Avoiding semi-truck accidents
Doing your part to avoid truck accidents includes keeping visible to the driver. In general, if you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, they cannot see you. Additionally, do not cut off a truck, do not tailgate and always leave extra space when passing a semi.
If you do your part to drive safely but a commercial truck driver crashes into you, you might suffer serious injuries in the collision. You may need an attorney’s help to prove that the trucker was at fault.