The number of semi truck and tractor trailer accidents throughout Illinois are on the rise. Drivers are constantly tired, and spurred on by trucking companies unconcerned with safety. Still, there are ways to stay safe on the road. –Ryan Bradley
How to share the road with Trucks
With 10 gears, 500 horsepower, hauling 80,000 pounds and an average cruising speed of 65-70 miles per hour, today’s commercial vehicles were built with the long-haul in mind. But if you’ve ever gotten stuck behind an 18-wheeler in the city, you are all too aware of how slow and clumsy these big rigs can be off the highway. In Central Illinois in particular the prevalence of semi trucks is even higher with Illinois Interstate 57, 74, and 72 all intersecting along with smaller roads frequently used by semis. The Champaign trucking accident team at Koester & Bradley has studied the causes of trucking accidents for decades and has come up with the following tips Illinois drivers can use to protect themselves from the destructive power of semi trucks and big rigs.
Getting Up To Speed
Never pass or maneuver around a commercial vehicle – truck or bus – illegally, even if it means taking a few more minutes on your commute. Although you may think you can zip around and in front of that trucker, keep in mind that most passenger car/tractor trailer accidents are much more than fender benders.
Safe in the Zone
Most professional truck and bus drivers try to leave a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. This cushion of space is known as the “safety zone”. Yet, the safety zone is often invaded by risky drivers trying to better their position on the road.
Never zoom around a truck or bus only to pull directly in front of them. Stay out of the safety zone! As a rule when you pass a commercial truck or bus, allow 50 feet (five car lengths) between you and the big guy before merging back in front of him. If you enter the zone in front of a big rig and need to apply your brakes, the 18-wheeler on your tail may not be able to stop in time.
Is He Making a Pass? Remember, trucks are bigger than you are.
When you make the decision to pass, always be sure you can complete your pass quickly. As you’re approaching a big rig from the rear, anticipate what your passing speed needs to be and be sure you can get by without getting stuck behind another passing vehicle – you might be in one of the truck’s blind spots. Better to wait to start your pass after the one ahead of you has completed its maneuver and is clear of the safety zone.
If you can’t see a truck’s mirrors, you’re in the truck’s blind spot and the trucker can’t see you. Keep this in mind as you select your road position behind or alongside a truck or bus. Always make sure you can be seen. When passing, keep in mind that the truck driver has a big blind spot to his left just behind his cab. If you get caught in that blind spot the truck might start a passing maneuver of its own and squeeze you off the road or into oncoming traffic, or worse yet, collide with you.
Truck Accidents Will Still Happen
Koester & Bradley dedicates a significant amount of our practice to helping drivers injured in semi-truck accidents. Remember, trucks have one goal in mind, deliver the load as quickly as possible and pick up another load. That is how trucking companies make money–and they make lots of it. Trucking companies almost always have large insurance policies as well. This means that if you or a loved one are injured in a trucking accident, you should absolutely call a local Champaign and Illinois trucking accident lawyer so that you are paid the compensation that you deserve.
By: Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP