With over 140 million commercial vehicles on the road, commercial vehicle accidents are more common than you think. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 119,000 people were injured in commercial accidents in 2016, and there were 4,400 fatalities.
Here are 5 things that every motorist can do to help keep the highways safer.
1. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and the commercial vehicle in front of you gives you more time to react to what the driver does. You’ll also have a better view of the road. Also keep in mind that commercial vehicles have more blind spots than regular cars. Driving too closely to the rear or side of a commercial vehicle means that the driver can’t see you, which increases the likelihood of an accident occurring.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO TURN SIGNALS
Pay attention to a commercial vehicle’s turn signals so that you react appropriately. Commercial vehicles have very wide turning arcs, which is why so many accidents occur at intersections. The length of a commercial vehicle also makes it more likely that the vehicle will cross multiple lanes of traffic when making a turn.
3. TAKE CARE WHEN PASSING
Because commercial vehicles have so many blind spots, drivers are unable to see directly behind their vehicles and their vision of the right-hand lane is also restricted. Maintain your distance so that you’re not in the driver’s blind spot when you’re trying to pass. Also, give an early signal so that the commercial vehicle driver understands your intentions long before you attempt to pass.
4. REMEMBER THAT COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS WORK LONG HOURS
Commercial vehicle drivers often drive for many hours at a time, which causes fatigue. Even those who stick to the law in terms of how many consecutive hours they can drive may still fall victim to fatigue. You must account for the possibility that fatigue has reduced a commercial driver’s reaction time. Take particular care when driving near a commercial vehicle at night, as the driver may not be as attentive as they were at the beginning of the day.
5. BE CAREFUL DURING WINTER
Winter weather – including snow, ice, and rain – presents hazards for motorists. Treat such weather with respect. Increase the distance that you maintain between you and commercial vehicles, and drive at a lower speed than the posted speed limit. This will give you more time and space to react to any unexpected movements that a commercial vehicle may make.
CONTACT MILLER KORY ROWE, LLP IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to prevent accidents from occurring. If you or a loved one is involved in a commercial vehicle accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Contact Miller Kory Rowe, LLP at (602) 648-4045 to discuss your options.