Truck Accidents and Road Safety
How to Safely Drive Around a Commercial Truck
Large trucks are a leading cause of many traffic-related deaths in California. A tractor-trailer or eighteen-wheeler easily weighs 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle. Due to its size and weight, a commercial truck is virtually guaranteed to crush a smaller vehicle in an accident.
It should come as no surprise, but many people are terrified of having to drive near or around a large, commercial truck. Below, our experienced truck accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will discuss several important recommendations for driving safely around large trucks.
It’s important to understand that trucks, due to their size, will have larger blind spots, need more space to maneuver safely, and will also need more time and space to slow down or stop. It also takes more time and finesse for a driver to pass by a truck safely.
In the next few sections, we will discuss various scenarios you may encounter while driving near a truck, as well as recommendations for how to stay safe.
When Trucks Are Making Wide Turns
Large trucks will sometimes need to swing left before making a right turn. This is inevitable. However, the danger lies in the fact that a truck driver will temporarily be unable to see any cars driving beside or directly behind them. Therefore, for example, it is a good idea to avoid moving to the right side of a truck as it is making a right turn.
When Passing a Truck
If you need to pass a truck, we recommend maintaining a safe speed as you do so. Make sure that the truck’s cab is fully visible in your rear view mirror before you attempt to pass. It is always best to pass a truck on its left side. Make sure to signal and then accelerate once you pass the truck to avoid spending more time than is necessary in a truck’s blind spot.
Finally, do not pass a truck on a downgrade because it will pick up excess speed.
When You Are Getting Passed by a Truck
It bothers some drivers when it happens, but trucks need to go around you, too. Slow down when you notice that a truck needs to pass you. Reducing your speed will make things easier for the truck driver, and it also reduces a driver’s chances of being involved in an accident.
When Trucks Back Up
It is very dangerous to attempt passing behind a truck that is backing up or about to back up. Never pass behind a truck that is backing up because you’ll be in that truck driver’s blindspot.
More Safe Driving Tips
Avoid the blind zone. All commercial trucks have blind spots. Generally, if a driver cannot see a truck driver in their side-view mirror, it likely means that the truck driver cannot see the motorist either. Never drive in a truck’s blind spot. Either slow down or speed up and make sure you stay visible.
Do not cut off a truck. Cutting off another vehicle is always dangerous, but it is especially risky to cut off a truck. If you cut off a truck, you may force the truck driver to slow down in order to avoid hitting you. A truck does not have enough speed to react in time and may still end up hitting the vehicle that cut them off.
Do not tailgate. You place yourself in unnecessary danger by tailgating a truck because the truck driver has no way of seeing you. In the event of an accident, a tailgating driver may end up getting pushed underneath the truck’s body, which can lead to horrific injuries. Always maintain a safe distance, especially when following a truck uphill.
Be patient. As mentioned, trucks react slowly. Driving aggressively, such as honking or repeatedly changing lanes, will not accomplish much of anything and will only cause unnecessary distractions.
Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a truck accident, an attorney at our firm can help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.