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by Jeff Rasansky - May 10, 2011
Jeff Rasansky
Jeff Rasansky, managing partner of Rasansky Law Firm, is an aggressive Dallas personal injury lawyer with 25 years of legal experience.

Truck accidents are often catastrophic. The best thing you can do is to avoid these crashes in the first place.

Because of the incredible mass of these vehicles, 18-wheeler trucks can cause serious accidents. It’s very likely that anybody who is involved in a car-vs-truck crash is going to be injured, if not killed.

Texas has lots of long, straight roads, and truck drivers often get sleepy driving a big rig. We’ve all been on the road with trucks, and we know how scary it can be. Truckers work hard and play a large part in our country’s economic success, but let’s face it, when you go toe-to-toe with an 18-wheeler, you’re going to lose.

Avoiding an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident

Avoiding an 18-Wheeler Accident

Look for the warning signs.

Most of the time, there will be some signs that trouble is on the way before a big rig accident actually takes place. One of the things you definitely want to watch out for is when their trailers start swaying from side to side. Such swaying can easily lead to a rollover or jackknife accident. If you see a truck swaying or wobbling, pull over, accelerate or decelerate; do whatever you have to do to avoid a crash.

Look out for downhill dangers. Trucks carry so much weight that it’s easy for them to lose control when going downhill. This is especially dangerous on curvy roads. If you have a truck gaining on you from behind, get out of the way and let them pass. If you find yourself gaining on a truck that’s crawling down a hill, it’s because the driver is shifted down in gears and has to limit their speed for safety. Be sure to back off of them. If you get a safe chance to pass, take it.

Stay out of the truck’s blind spot.

You know those stickers on trucks that say, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you?” Take them seriously. A passenger vehicle can hide in a truck’s blind spot. If the trucker doesn’t know you’re there, he can’t take care to avoid you when he/she changes lanes. Sometimes you can see the mirrors, though, and the trucker still can’t see you. Blind spots include directly behind the truck, to the left and right sides about two-thirds of the way back, and, occasionally, directly in front of the truck.

Turning and passing.

Simply because of physics, a big rig has to make a much wider right turn than a passenger vehicle. Oftentimes, when they’re in the cities, the drivers will occupy two lanes to make sure that other drivers cannot get alongside of them. Don’t slip into any open spaces on the right side of a semi that has its right signal on. When they make the turn, the trailer will close in on the side of the road and anything caught in the gap will likely be crushed. These types of accidents are some of the most common that involve semi trucks.

Always pass to the left, and do so as quickly as possible. Do not linger alongside the truck, and give plenty of space before you merge in front of the 18-wheeler.

Drive defensively.

Take extra care at night and in bad weather. The glare at night, especially in the rain, can cause anyone to have trouble seeing. Snow and ice, of course, make traveling on the road treacherous. Multiply those dangers by the size of a semi, driven by someone who may be fatigued, and you have the potential for a deadly accident.

Maintain your car. Make sure all your headlamps, tail lamps, brake lights and turn signals are in working order at all times. Not only is it illegal to drive with one of these lights out, but it is also dangerous. You need truckers to know where you are and what your intentions are on the road. Inflate and maintain your tires properly and get your brakes checked regularly. You want to be able to maneuver quickly if you have to avoid an accident.

Whenever something looks like it might get bad, slow down right away. Most people have pretty good instincts about when something doesn’t seem right with another driver or with the road conditions. Slow down gradually sooner to avoid having to slam on the brakes later.

It’s something that many people fail to do (particularly when they’re on familiar routes), but use your turn signals! Remember that just because you know where you’re going, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. Always signal, even if it’s at a turn-only lane in a parking lot.

Contacting a lawyer.

If you’ve been injured because a trucker failed to obey traffic laws or because they were driving recklessly, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible for a free consultation. These accidents can lead to substantial financial damages, and you should not be left with the bill.

To discuss the options available to you (for free) with a Dallas truck accident lawyer today, call us at 1-877-405-4313.

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