They are perceived, often incorrectly, as the bullies of the roadway. Trucks, simply by virtue of their sheer size compared to other vehicles, are intimidating. And if your car has been in a collision with a truck, it’s not going to be a contest as to which vehicle is going to sustain the most damage, or which occupants are the most likely to be seriously injured or even killed.
Portland truck accident lawyers know that every year in the United States, trucks are involved in approximately half a million accidents. As a result, 100,000 people are seriously injured, and tragically, an average of 5,000 people per year are killed in accidents involving trucks. In other words, if your car is in an accident with a truck, there’s a one in five chance you’ll be seriously injured, and a shocking one in 100 chance you’ll be killed. Those are not good odds. Portland truck accident lawyers also know it can be difficult to prove liability against a truck driver, making dealing with the insurance companies exceptionally difficult.
It would certainly be better for everyone if car drivers followed a few important safety tips to avoid being involved in such a crash.
• When approaching a large truck, become extra vigilant. Be aware that they behave very differently from cars, especially when braking or turning.
• Stay out of a truck’s blind spot! How do you know if you’re in it? It’s simple, really. If you can’t see the truck’s side view mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you, and this is directly attributed to one in every three accidents between cars and large trucks.
• Never pass a truck on the right when the truck is turning right. Because a truck’s rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front, they must swing wide left to make a right turn. Many accidents occur when cars try to pass on the right during such a maneuver. If you see a truck swinging to the left, check to see which way the driver has indicated he is turning before attempting to go around the truck.
• Cutting in front of a truck, then stopping is a recipe for a fatal accident. Trucks, by virtue of their size and weight, require much greater stopping distances than cars.
• Give trucks a gap of at least four to six seconds in wet weather or in highway conditions.
• If you see a truck being driven erratically or in an unsafe manner, don’t hesitate. Report it immediately, to both the authorities and if possible, to the truck driver’s employers. Numbers to report unsafe driving are often displayed on trucks.
Unfortunately, Portland truck accident lawyers know it’s not just cars that are involved in accidents with these behemoths of the highway. Pedestrians are at greatest risk of serious injury or death if hit by a truck, followed closely by cyclists, who frequently get caught out in trucks’ extra large blind spots. Portland can take pride in the fact that they have been one of the most pro-active cities in the country to help both pedestrians and cyclists avoid a truck accident, with the introduction of green bike boxes and blue bike lanes on its roads.
Truck drivers, too, must play their part in avoiding accidents. Driving such a large and potentially lethal motorized vehicle brings extra responsibilities. Truck drivers should always:
• Observe rules about not driving excessive hours. Truck drivers who operate their vehicle while overly fatigued are a serious danger, not just to themselves, but to other road users.
• Slow down in work zones. One-third of work zone fatalities in the United States involve large trucks, and perhaps surprisingly, the majority of those accidents occur during daylight hours.
• Be aware of just how large your blind spots are, and be equally aware that other road users may not appreciate the fact you can’t see them.
• Avoid aggressive driving and aggressive drivers. It is estimated that two-thirds of all traffic fatalities are triggered by aggressive driving.
• Keep your distance. Portland truck accident lawyers know from experience, if a truck hits someone from behind, they’ll be considered at fault in almost every single situation, whether a car cut them off or not.
If you have been involved in an accident between a car and a truck, and you’ve been injured, Portland truck accident lawyers will invariably advise you to, first and foremost, get the medical attention you need. After that, immediately report the accident to your insurance company before finally contacting an experienced and reliable Portland truck accident lawyer, who will guide you through the process of dealing with the insurance companies and getting you the compensation you deserve.