Making quick lane changes, moving too fast in response to changing conditions, tailgating, running yellow lights, and overtaking other vehicles are examples of dangerous maneuvers that elevate the risk of trucking accidents. These careless maneuvers are already disastrous when performed in small passenger cars. They are likely to cause more catastrophic accidents when performed by huge trucks.
Common Dangerous Maneuvers That Truckers Make
Making Careless Lane Switches
Switching from one lane to another while operating a fully loaded commercial truck is riskier than doing the same in a passenger vehicle. This is because large trucks have many blind spots that other motor vehicles often unknowingly occupy. If a truck tries to change lanes while a car is occupying one of its blind spots, the outcome can be deadly.
Trucks have blind spots behind the truck’s trailer, in front of the truck’s cab, on the right side, below the cab mirror, and on the left side, below the cab mirror. Anything located in these areas might be invisible to truck drivers. Truckers are required to try their best to inspect their blind spots by carefully monitoring their mirrors and cameras (if applicable) before switching lanes.
Driving at a High Speed in Response to Changing Conditions
Many commercial trucks have speed-control devices that keep them from moving too fast. Some trucks, however, don’t have those speed-limiting devices and those that do can sometimes move at a high speed in response to conditions like road, traffic, or weather.
Due to their large and heavy nature, trucks require impressive skill, due diligence, and expertise to move safely. Turning or stopping suddenly increases the risk of these trucks jackknifing or even rolling over. For these reasons, these trucks may end up moving at excessive speeds in response to changing weather or road conditions even when speed-limiting devices are in place.
Tailgating refers to driving behind another vehicle too closely. While tailgating is a risky driving habit in any vehicle, it’s particularly dangerous when operating a large commercial truck. Trucks require a significantly larger stopping distance compared to passenger cars. Driving a truck too closely behind a car increases the risk of a deadly rear-end collision.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truckers should maintain a time difference of five seconds or more between their rig and the car in front. In case of a traffic jam or harsh weather, they should expand this time difference by several more seconds to ensure their safety as well as the safety of other road users. A truck accident lawyer can review the accident report, assemble witness statements, and gather enough evidence to prove that massive damage and serious injuries suffered by an accident victim were caused by the trucker’s failure to maintain the recommended safe following distance.
Running Yellow Lights
Because of their size and weight, trucks are more likely to cause catastrophic accidents when rushing through yellow lights. Despite this, some truck drivers still perform this risky maneuver regularly. A truck speeding up to beat a yellow light can cause rear-end collisions because stopping or swerving a huge truck is a difficult task.
A truck can also completely fail to make it through the yellow line and speed towards the red light and other vehicles in its path. Since hitting emergency brakes at that point would be useless, the truck would crash through any vehicle on its way.
Passing and Overtaking Other Vehicles
Passing slow vehicles that jam traffic is often a harmless maneuver for regular motorists. This maneuver is, however, extremely dangerous for trucks because it requires a combination of maneuvers that are each already dangerous in their own capacity.
To pass and overtake a slow car, the truck must first change lanes and avoid slamming any vehicles occupying its blind spots. The truck then must pick up speed, pass the vehicle in front of it, and change lanes once more. An error can happen at any one of those maneuvers and result in a serious truck accident. Truckers must reduce the odds of an accident by avoiding situations where one blunder can potentially endanger the lives of other road users.
Taking Legal Action Against Negligent Truck Drivers
Truck drivers and trucking companies can be held legally responsible for damages and injuries they cause because of making dangerous maneuvers. The careless disregard for safety demonstrated by actions, such as changing lanes recklessly, tailgating, and running yellow lights, means a truck driver may be found at fault in an accident injury claim. A truck accident victim who works closely with a truck accident lawyer has better chances of receiving maximum compensation from all liable parties.