Due to the large size and weight difference of a semi-truck compared to a car, truck or SUV, accidents involving a semi-truck will often result in catastrophic injuries and death. In Missouri, semi-trucks make up 3% of the total vehicles on our roadways. Large truck accidents (semi-trucks, tractor-trailers comprise 12% of the fatalities on Missouri’s roadways according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Semi-truck accidents are usually preventable. At Bishop and Hayes P.C., we would like to help educated toy and how to share the road safely with tractor-trailers and an effort to help reduce the amount of accidents and deaths on our roadways. As auto injury lawyers, Tim Hayes and Brad Bishop have seen the consequences of semi-truck accidents in their Springfield, Missouri, Joplin, Missouri and Miami, Oklahoma offices. Please read below and hopefully this will help inform you on how to make good decisions on the road.
Visual Attention: The first rule of driving is to be aware of your surroundings. Especially when a semi-truck or large commercial vehicle is traveling nearby. A fully loaded semi-truck will weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds; by comparison, your vehicle on average only weighs around 4,000 pounds. This means that a semi-truck is 20 heavier than your vehicle and is carrying a force 20 times more powerful when impact occurs. Due to the weight difference, the semi-truck will be much slower to come to a stop. On average a semi-truck will take up to three football fields of 600 plus yards to come to a complete stop when traveling 60 miles per hour.
Give Space: Semi-trucks are on average 53 feet long. This creates more blind spots for the driver. If you follow too closely to them, they will be unable to see you. Be sure to place adequate distance between you and the semi-truck which will ensure that the driver can see your vehicle, and you will have sufficient time to stop if the driver unexpectedly applies their brakes.
Passing: While passing a semi-truck you need to make sure that you allow for enough distance between you and the semi you are passing before you re-enter the lane. Do not swerve or cut off a semi. Their load weight creates a much longer stopping distance. If you cut off a semi, then apply your brakes, often you will be driven over by the semi because they are unable to stop in this short distance created. Please maintain a safe distance when passing and re-entering a lane, and you will give both yourself and the semi-truck driver plenty of time to react should they need to.
Proactive Reporting: The majority of truck drivers are experienced professionals who make safety a priority. However, there is always a small percentage of drivers who will drive aggressively and not follow the rules of Missouri’s roadways. If you see behaviors of a semi-truck driver that are unsafe, we recommend that you call the local Highway Patrol or other law enforcement and report this driver. You should watch for a semi-truck driving erratically, swerving or drifting between lanes. These behaviors could mean that a driver is tired and drifting asleep.