It is obvious that the height and weight of a semi truck is massive compared to the size of a typical passenger vehicle. When a semi truck is traveling in the lane next to a passenger vehicle on a highway or interstate, their size seems even larger and causes many drivers to feel anxious and intimidated. Recently, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Trucking Association, and the Illinois State Police have spoken out about the importance of commercial trucking on Illinois highways and released some basic tips for driving near semi trucks. Our truck accident law firm thought our readers would benefit from learning of these tips to help reduce the fear of semi trucks that many motorists have, as well as to help keep roadways safer for all vehicles.
-First, giving semi trucks enough room to travel on side roads and highways is essential. This is especially true when roads are congested due to traffic or construction. Give trucks room to change lanes, make turns at intersections, and to enter freeways through exit ramps, and remember that it takes additional time for semi trucks to complete these actions.
-Try to avoid making sudden lane changes, stops, or changes in speed when a semi truck is traveling immediately behind you. Because trucks take longer to stop, driving in a manner that a truck driver would not be able to anticipate could result in a chain-reaction collision or accident. Maintaining a safe distance from semi trucks will also help to prevent an accident.
-Always remain visible to a truck driver. An Illinois police officer told Times Republic, “Generally, if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you or your car. So drivers have to be especially careful as they travel near or attempt to pass trucks because there are many blind spots and little time or space for either vehicle to react in many cases.”
Illinois state police also reminded motorists that the “Move Over” law is strictly enforced, which requires motorists to slow down and if possible, change lanes when approaching police, emergency or construction vehicles displaying flashing warning lights. This is usually easy for small passenger vehicles, but remember to give trucks the opportunity to slow down and move over too.
According to Times Republic, crash data proves that following the above tips is having a positive effect on Illinois roadways. In 2011, less than 4% of the 280,000 crashes that occurred among all vehicles involved big trucks. Of those crashes, 81 fatal crashes involved a large truck, down from 111 fatal crashes in 2007. In all, the fatal crash rate for big trucks is down more than 75% since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping crash records almost 40 years ago.
Our truck accident lawyers often highlight the dangers of semi trucks and how serious the involvement in a trucking accident can be. Reports do emphasize, however, that all motorists should remember how crucial semi trucks are in delivering goods and products that we need. The commercial trucking industry in Illinois contributes to carrying millions of tons of freight each day, and Illinois is the home of more than 20,000 trucking firms. Because of the frequency that semi trucks travel, trucking associations put safety first through driver training, advanced safety technologies, and many trucking regulations. Additionally, the trucking industry’s “Share the Road” program is reaching out to all motorists to teach them about the best ways to drive when a semi truck is near.
Our attorneys believe that safety should always be the primary concern for every motorists and commercial vehicle while driving. By following the above tips, and by semi truck drivers following all necessary rules and regulations, traveling on roadways with semi trucks can be safer than many would believe. An Illinois Department of Transportation secretary told reporters, “We’re doing better in recent years on safety concerning big trucks, but we still have a long way to go to get to zero fatalities, and that’s our main goal.”
In the case that you are seriously injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, our attorneys are here to help. Call us for information about what steps you need to take to receive the compensation you deserve.