The National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI) recently posted a series of helpful facts and safety recommendations to assist drivers interacting with tractor-trailers and other large trucks on United States roadways (https://ntsi.com/quick-links/safety-articles/truck-safety/).
The NTSI provided a number of facts involving collisions between passenger vehicles and large trucks:
- There are over 200,000 collisions between cars and large trucks every year in the U.S.
- Most car-truck collisions occur during the day under good road and weather conditions.
- Because trucks are so much larger and heavier than automobiles, the operator of the automobile and not the truck driver is the one killed in 80% of fatal automobile-truck crashes.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation oversees large truck safety through two agencies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets the equipment standards for large vehicles and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) supervises commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce.
In addition, the NTSI recommended the following safety tips in the event you encounter a tractor-trailer on our nation’s highways:
- Trucks have large blind spots, known as “No Zones.” If you can’t see the truck driver in his side mirrors, he can’t see you. Maintain a following distance of at least 4 seconds.
- Trucks are much larger than cars and take longer to pass. Do not pull back into the right lane until you see the front of the cab of the truck in your rear-view mirror.
- Use extra caution when passing a large truck pulling a trailer because the trailer may swing into your lane.
- Large vehicles need extra turning space. Do not pull next to a tractor-trailer when it is making a turn.
- If possible, try not to drive next to a tractor-trailer. The best safety recommendation for interacting with large vehicles is to stay far away from them.
Although the federal agencies and trucking companies could certainly do a better job of ensuring the safety of American drivers, it is ultimately up to you to take responsibility for yourself and your passengers. Please use caution in the presence of tractor-trailers. If you have been injured in an accident with a large truck, please contact Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman for a free consultation. We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.