Everyone who has driven alongside a semi-truck on the highway knows how nerve-wracking it can be. Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are enormous, weighing as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. They also have large blind spots, which prevent truck drivers from seeing all of their surroundings. There is no way to guarantee your safety while sharing the road with a semi-truck; however, there are a few steps you can take to decrease the chances of getting into an Oregon truck accident.
At the D’Amore Law Group, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of injury lawyers representing clients across Oregon and Washington. We know what it takes to effectively bring a case against a negligent truck driver or their employer. Our respected lawyers have successfully handled countless cases stemming from truck accidents, helping our clients recover over $100 million.
While it may seem hard to miss a semi-truck, it’s actually quite easy to get distracted, especially on highways. However, one of the most important safety precautions motorists can take is to remain vigilant at all times. Most importantly, put down the cell phone and refrain from texting while driving. And keep track of where large trucks are in your rear-view mirror and as you approach them from behind. Trucks usually stay in the slower lanes of travel. But in some situations (such as in construction zones) trucks are required to drive in the left-most lane.
When driving around large trucks, be sure to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the truck. When fully loaded and traveling at 65 miles per hour, semi-trucks can take up to 525 feet to come to a complete stop. That’s almost the length of two football fields. This distance, however, assumes ideal conditions. If it is raining or the driver doesn’t immediately apply the brakes, it can take much longer for a truck to stop. When following a semi-truck, be aware that you can’t see what is up ahead of the truck and leave a little extra distance.
Be Aware of the Truck Driver’s Blind Spots
Truck drivers have large blind spots on every side of the vehicle. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers cannot see cars in front or back of them unless they are about 20-30 feet away. Truck drivers have blind spots on all sides, but especially on the passenger’s side. And while it is up to a truck driver to make sure it’s clear before changing lanes, if they fail to do this you may be the one harmed. So it is highly advisable for drivers to avoid driving in a truck’s blind spot whenever possible.
Semi-trucks are notoriously slow, especially when traveling throughout the hills of the Pacific Northwest. Because they move slowly, your desire to pass them is understandable. However, drivers should take special care when passing large trucks. Given the large blind spots on all trucks, you should not just assume that the driver of the truck sees you. Be sure to use your turn signals, and leave plenty of room in front of the truck before returning to your original lane. If anything requires you to slow down suddenly, you want to make sure that the truck driver has enough time to avoid hitting you from behind. At the same time, you want to overtake the truck as quickly as possible, especially if you are crossing into a lane of oncoming traffic to pass.
Follow All Traffic Laws
Traffic laws are in place for a reason, and it is especially important to follow the rules of the road when driving alongside semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles. For example, speeding is especially dangerous around trucks. The faster you are going, the more difficult it will be for you to avoid a collision. And collisions at higher speeds are more likely to result in fatal injuries. Using turn signals is also critical to safely sharing the road with large trucks. Trucks are not nearly as nimble as smaller vehicles, and truck drivers must remain vigilant of their surroundings. However, if you are switching in and out of lanes without signaling, it can be difficult for truckers to anticipate your actions.
Adjust Your Speed According to the Conditions
Posted speed limits provide a maximum speed for ideal road conditions. However, often, the driving conditions in Oregon are anything but ideal. During periods of rain, snow, fog, or heavy winds, it is imperative to reduce your speed. When the weather conditions are bad it becomes harder to recognize hazards for all drivers. Bad weather can also further increase a truck’s stopping distance.
Of course, you can only do so much to avoid a truck accident. In some cases, truck accidents are unavoidable. If you’ve been injured in an Oregon truck accident, reach out to an injury attorney to discuss your options. You may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for your damages. Depending on the nature of your injuries and how they impacted your life, this may include damages for medical expenses, lost wages, decreased earning capacity, as well as the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the crash.
Contact D’Amore Law Group to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was recently injured in an Oregon semi-truck accident, reach out to the respected injury attorneys at the D’Amore Law Group. We have a reputation for aggressively pursuing compensation from negligent truck drivers and their employers. Whether we are investigating the accident, developing a strategy, negotiating with the insurance company, or litigating your case at trial, we have what it takes to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve. At D’Amore Law Group, we offer all accident victims a free consultation. We never bill for our services unless we win your case, either through settlement or at trial. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call at 503-222-6333 today. You can also contact us through our online form.