It only takes a second for an accident to happen, but when they do they can change your life. Tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles are essential for many of the things we need. They deliver goods and products to stores and help businesses grow and develop. However, even though tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles have an important purpose, they also pose a risk to drivers. Truck drivers are notoriously overworked and under rested and while they may be highly trained and experienced, it is often difficult for a tractor-trailer to maneuver the same way as a passenger vehicle does, and this often leads to accidents.
Reasons for Truck Accidents On Maryland Route 314
Of the approximately 411,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2014, 3,424 (1 percent) resulted in at least one fatality, and 82,000 (20 percent) resulted in at least one nonfatal injury. There are plenty of reasons why a tractor-trailer or commercial vehicle may be involved in an accident. While many car accidents are minor and fender benders when there is a tractor-trailer that weighs thousands of pounds more than a passenger vehicle, even a minor accident can cause catastrophic injuries.
Some common reasons for tractor-trailer accidents happen on roads such as Route 314 include:
- Faulty and inadequate brakes – Truck drivers drive thousands of more miles in a year than an average person does. When a driver puts that many miles on their vehicle it is easy to see how their brakes can pose a potential risk. When the brakes are not regularly checked this can cause the truck to take longer to stop than normal, or be unable to stop at all.
- Congestion or other types of traffic flow interruptions – Tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles have to navigate all the same roadways as a regular passenger vehicle. This means that there is commonly stop and go traffic or suddenly changing traffic patterns due to construction and road hazards. This can pose a problem for some drivers who may be unfamiliar with the road, or who are operating large vehicles that are not able to quickly stop or maneuver.
- Prescription drug use – prescription drug use is a growing problem amongst truck drivers and one that can lead to major impacts on your life.
Some other reasons why tractor-trailers are involved in accidents include drivers driving too fast, being unfamiliar with the road, roadway issues, required stops, over-the-counter- medication use and inadequate surveillance. There are countless reasons why an accident may happen. However, when they do they often lead to life altering changes.
How to Prove a Truck Accident Case
Truck accidents can be devastating to you, your car, and your family. If you have been injured in a truck accident, then you probably want to know how to file suit and how you should proceed. Generally, truck accidents are litigated on the theory of negligence. Therefore, a person injured in a commercial truck accident must show that:
- That the defendant who may be either the driver, the trucking company or another party owed the other driver a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury. This depends on the circumstances of the accident and the road conditions.
- Next, you must show that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care. Generally, the law will state that the driver has “breached” the duty of reasonable care.
- Finally, a person who has been injured in a truck accident will have to show that the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injury suffered by the plaintiff.
This is a brief overview of the legal concept of negligence. An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to further explain these elements.
How to Avoid Accidents with Tractor Trailers
When you are driving on the roads there are some measures that you can take to prevent accidents and injuries to you and your family. While commercial tractor trailer drivers are often highly trained and have years of experience driving on the roads they are a frequent source of accidents. Here are some tips to help you avoid collisions with tractor-trailers:
- Beware of blind spots – You are probably familiar with blind spots in your own vehicle and know that they can pose a danger to you by blocking out other vehicles on the road. Tractor-trailers have much larger blind spots, called “no-zones,” located at the rear of the truck, the side, and the connecting point between the truck and the trailer. Many drivers will tell you that as a good rule, that if you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, the driver can’t see you.
- Don’t change lanes abruptly or make aggressive maneuvers – Tractor trailers are much larger than even the largest personal vehicles and they weigh thousands of more pounds. This can make it difficult for a driver to make sudden and rapid maneuvers with their vehicle. Any sudden motion in a truck driver’s periphery can cause the vehicle to respond unpredictably.
- Be aware of wide turns – If you look at the back of a tractor-trailer you will often see a warning sign with a picture of the radius required for a tractor trailer to turn, however, passenger vehicles often get caught and squeezed by a tractor making a turn.
- Drive within the speed limit – While this is good advice to prevent you from getting a ticket, this is also good advice when there are tractors around you. By driving within the speed limit you are much more able to readjust your vehicle and be aware of your surroundings.
- Always use turn signals when passing – As mentioned above tractors have much larger blind zones. That being said, you should give a tractor-trailer every available visual indicator of your intentions.
- Adjust driving speed to climate conditions – When you are on the road, it is not always how you respond to the weather but how others respond to the weather as well, rain, snow and high winds can make driving behind a tractor-trailer more hazardous. Allow more distance to maximize braking capabilities.
Contact A Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer Today
To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call the law offices of Reiff & Bily Trucking at (800) 861-6708 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim.