In the United States, there are around 276 million vehicles. There’s no doubt about it; Americans are extremely reliant on motor vehicles to get around. Of course, traveling by road isn’t without its risks. One of the major risks drivers encounter is commercial trucks.
Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds under federal law. By comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs between 2,000 and 6,000 pounds, making them no match for a commercial vehicle in an accident.
Large trucks account for roughly four percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S. However, they account for almost 10% of its fatal crashes. In 2020, trucking accidents killed 4,965 people across the county. These accidents injured an additional 147,000 people.
In Florida, large truck accidents resulted in 32 fatalities in 2020. These crashes also caused 1,554 injuries, ranging from minor to incapacitating. Of course, most of these injuries and deaths involved occupants of passenger vehicles, not the truck driver.
The statistics paint a grim picture of the risks and dangers of truck accidents. However, you can reduce your odds of being in a serious crash by taking certain steps.
Take a look at these three simple ways to stay safer on the road:
1. Identify Major Risks While Driving
Accidents appear to happen out of nowhere, but understanding the major risks can help you predict when a collision will occur – and prevent it from happening. Leaving extra clearance when traveling alongside large trucks will help to ensure that the driver is aware of your vehicle.
Similarly, paying extra care at intersections and checking for oncoming commercial vehicles rather than relying solely on traffic lights could help you to avoid an accident. Additionally, adjusting your driving behavior to accommodate natural hazards, like snow and ice, can help to reduce both single and multi-vehicle collisions.
2. Lower Your Speed
Driving at high speeds means you have less control over the vehicle, which increases the risk of an accident. Moreover, if a collision does occur, excess speeds enhance the impact of the crash, which can result in more serious consequences — especially in a truck crash.
Statistics show that speeding was a contributing or causative factor in 29% of fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2020. While it may be tempting to step on the gas when you’re running late, sticking to the speed limit is vital if you want to arrive at your destination safely.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions About Other Vehicles
It’s easy to assume that another road user will behave in a certain way, but this can make you complacent. Instead of assuming you know how another vehicle or pedestrian is going to behave, expect the unexpected and stay focused at all times.
This will naturally encourage you to leave extra room, travel a little slower, and give other road users more time to maneuver. This is especially important for truck drivers, who drive large vehicles with heavy cargo. Trucks have sizable blind spots and require ample time to stop.
You can reduce your chances of being caught up in a truck accident by passing a truck on the left, using your blinker to switch lanes, and minimizing your time in blind spots.
Staying Safe When You’re Traveling on the Roads To Avoid A Truck Accident
No one wants to be involved in a collision with a large truck, but it’s something that thousands of people are forced to deal with each year. If you’re involved in a truck crash, report the incident to law enforcement, obtain prompt medical attention, and seek help from a truck accident lawyer. These steps can help to ensure that the person responsible for your accident is held to account and that you’re able to obtain financial compensation.
By being aware of the risks and improving your own road safety, you can help to make the country’s roads safer for everyone and reduce your own chances of being involved in a road traffic accident.