Every year, thousands of people are killed in truck accidents, and millions more are injured. In fact, truck accidents account for over a third of all car fatalities in the United States alone. If you’re driving or riding as a passenger in a smaller vehicle, there’s an excellent chance that one day you’ll get into a head-on collision with an 18 wheeler. And when these collisions happen, they can be devastating no matter who is involved.
But if you know what to do beforehand and afterward, it can help minimize the damage from these terrible events so that everyone survives them better than ever before.
1. Why Are They So Dangerous
Truck crashes are so dangerous because they often involve significant speeds and because trucks can be too tall to see or avoid. At high speeds, the kinetic energy that’s released in truck collisions is also much higher than what happens in typical car accidents. This causes their impact to be greater, leading to more serious injuries and fatalities. On the other side of the equation, many trucks are taller than the passenger vehicles they encounter on the road, which means drivers can’t see them until it’s too late. This may be one reason why head-on truck crashes account for about one-third of all car fatalities across America.
2. What Happens After The Accident
If a truck was involved in your accident, it might be best to call 911 first for medical assistance. If anyone’s injured, always render aid. If the truck driver is able to move his vehicle off the road, pull over to a safe section of the shoulder or parking lot to avoid secondary accidents or injuries. This isn’t required, but it will help reduce your risk in the aftermath of the crash. If you suspect the truck is leaking hazardous chemicals, get away from it as quickly as possible. You don’t want to risk exposure to anything that may cause you injuries or harm. Finally, take pictures of the scene and write down the date and time of day it occurred and any weather conditions present. If an accident does happen, you will most likely need legal help. For instance, if an accident happened in St. Louis, you should google “St. Louis personal injury attorney” to find the most experienced lawyers in that area. This information will be important for your insurance company and for helping the police investigate what happened.
3. What You Should Do If You’re Driving Near A Truck
If you come upon a truck unexpectedly or if you see one coming in your direction, don’t panic. A good number of accidents occur because drivers try to avoid 18-wheelers by slamming on their brakes and swerving out of the way. This is a bad idea for many reasons, most notably that nearly all car accidents involving trucks also involve smaller cars. If you slam on your brakes and swerve, not only do you risk colliding with another vehicle, but the truck will almost certainly rear-end you anyway. (This is because trucks at high speeds take a long time to stop, and it’s difficult for them to navigate around other vehicles.) Instead, brake smoothly and try to pull your vehicle completely off the road, as far onto the shoulder as possible. This way, you’ll reduce your risk of being involved in a head-on collision, and if one happens anyway, you’re better off further from it where the damage is minimized.
4. How To Avoid Them
There are a few things you can do to avoid a truck accident. One is to not tailgate the truck and pay attention to trucker signals. This will give you more time to respond in the event of a stop or sudden change in traffic. If you’re driving, always have at least one car-length distance in front of your vehicle if possible. You never want to be in line with the truck when passing, for this will reduce your visibility and could result in a head-on collision when merging from one lane to another. Always make sure the driver sees you, too. Before merging or changing lanes, tap on your horn to signal that you’re there. Truckers will sometimes not see smaller vehicles, and it’s important that they hear you from a distance away.
5. Truck-Specific Dangers
Trucks are equipped with wide turning radiuses. If you find yourself in an intersection, don’t pull in front of the truck, for this could cause it to wedge into another vehicle or swerve into your car if unable to stop because you’re too close. If the truck is stopping, do not speed up because this will give you almost no time to react. If you’re in a parking lot and the truck is backing up, give it plenty of space because if something’s in its paths, such as an obstacle or another vehicle, it will plow right into it. Trucks need more room to brake than cars do. Treat them like any other slow-moving vehicle on the road. Trucks are more difficult to maneuver than cars. If you find yourself behind one, always allow them extra room for turning or stopping because it will take longer for them to get out of the way if they need to suddenly change lanes. Also, many trucks have “No Passing Zones” painted on the back. This means if you’re going to pass a truck, make sure it’s within these lines, or else it will be illegal and very dangerous for you both since there isn’t much room between the two vehicles.
Truck accidents happen all the time and they can be devastating. You don’t want to get in one, but if you do, it’s important to know what to do afterward. The steps we outlined will help reduce your risk of injury or death from a truck accident so that you can recover quickly and resume life as normal with minimal interruption. We hope this information has been helpful for you!