Truck Accidents Involving Blind Spots
You know from your own driving experience in Michigan that all vehicles have “blind spots” where other vehicles on the road momentarily disappear from sight. This danger is substantially worse for large trucks, which have lengthy, deep blind spots extending down their right and left sides, as well as in the rear and immediately in front of the cab.
Many truck accidents on the highways in Michigan and across the U.S. are caused by these substantial blind spots on large trucks, which include 10,000-pound or more tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, and cargo vans.
More About Truck Blind Spots
The general rule is that if you can’t see the driver’s face in the truck’s rear view mirror the driver likely can’t see you. Passenger vehicles can vanish from sight, and if a truck driver moves into the next lane to pass or makes a sudden stop, a catastrophic collision can occur. Your vehicle could be crushed, or run off the road, or forced violently into a guardrail, concrete median, or another vehicle.
Unfortunately, this almost always means the occupants in the smaller vehicle will suffer serious, sometimes fatal, injuries. In 2009, there were 3,163 fatalities across the country caused by large truck accidents. (2009 is the most recent year for government statistics on highway accident fatalities). The vast majority of drivers and passengers injured in large truck accidents are occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. In the 2009 fatal accidents involving two-vehicle crashes between passenger vehicles and large trucks, 98 percent of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicles.
Safety Tips For Driving Around Large Trucks
- Driving defensively can avoid an accident with a large truck involving blind spots. Some safe driving techniques include:
- Making sure you can see the driver’s face in the truck’s rear view mirror, which means the driver should be able to see you;
- Passing quickly to avoid lingering in a blind spot;
- Always passing on the left because the blind spot is less on the left than on the right;
- Giving yourself enough room after passing to safely guide your vehicle into the driving lane well in front of the truck to avoid the blind spot in front of the cab;
- Avoiding tailgating.
Driver Fatigue and Other Factors Causing Michigan Tractor Trailer Accidents
Unfortunately, even if you exercise caution, an accident can nonetheless occur due to negligent, careless driving by a driver of these potentially lethal giants of the highways. Often, driver fatigue is a factor, especially if the truck driver violates the rules for continuous driving. Currently under federal highway safety rules, a driver must stop driving and rest after driving 11 hours continuously. They are permitted under federal rules to drive up to 77 hours during a seven-day period. However, some drivers violate these rules and government enforcement can be spotty.
Companies or agencies that hire truck drivers either look the other way or even encourage their drivers to exceed the hour limit. In addition to the negligent driver, they also can be liable for your injuries. Other factors potentially causing accidents related to blind spots are speeding, overly aggressive driving by a truck driver, or the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Victim of Michigan Truck Accident? Our Michigan Tractor Trailer Wreck Lawyers Can Help
The motor vehicle injury attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers know how devastating an accident involving a large truck can be for victims and their loved ones. The costs of medical bills and long-term care can be astronomical, and those who lose a spouse, child or other family member may also inherit significant financial burdens that stem from those losses.
The motor vehicle accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers can help you obtain compensation as you begin to rebuild your life. Call our Michigan accident lawyers at (888) 454-0801 or contact us online for a free evaluation of your claim. If we don’t win, you won’t pay for our assistance.