Defensive Driving: An Essential Practice for Avoiding Truck-Crash Fatalities

As stores seek to fill their shelves and shipping companies work to deliver their products this holiday season, the real strain will be put on delivery truck drivers. Such drivers will be pressed to work at a quicker pace. More importantly, pressures from employers and the lure of overtime pay will push commercial drivers to work longer hours. This means that you are more likely to receive your Christmas gifts before Christmas, but that the delivery trucks will pose an increased danger on Florida roadways.

Truck Crash Statistics

The number of truck accidents that occur in Florida has significantly increased over the last 4 years. In 2011, there were 3,539 accidents involving large trucks. In 2014, that number had risen to 6,245 crashes involving trucks—a nearly 54 percent increase. Few states have seen such a dramatic increase in truck accidents, and not many states had as high a rate of crashes to begin with. In fact, in 2014, only six states had higher rates of truck crashes than Florida.

Fortunately, not all of these reported truck accidents caused fatalities. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of fatalities related to truck accidents in Florida fluctuated from a high of 400 deaths in 2005 to a low of 181 in 2009 and 2010. From 2010 to 2011 the numbers went up slightly, only to begin dropping again in 2013. One hopes that number has continued to drop, but statistics are not yet available. Nevertheless, any accident involving an 80,000-pound semi has a high potential for catastrophic damage.

Not surprisingly, truck crashes are more prevalent when more people are driving on the roadways. Therefore, truck crashes occur with more frequency during daytime hours. What is surprising, however, is that truck crashes occur more often in rural areas, where one would expect less traffic. Even more unexpected is the fact that more fatal truck accidents occur when the skies are clear—as opposed to cloudy, snowy, or foggy—and when roads are dry, as opposed to icy or slushy. Perhaps the reason for this is that truck drivers and vehicle drivers alike drive more carefully when road conditions are subpar.

One might expect head-on collisions are a major cause of truck-vehicle accident fatalities. Head-on collisions only account for about thirty percent of truck-accident fatalities, however. Statistically, nearly half of all fatality-inducing accidents involving trucks occur between trucks and vehicles traveling in the same direction. But even cars that run into the rear end of a truck have a high fatality rate, as hitting the rear end of a truck is three times more likely to result in a fatality than rear-end crashes with another vehicle. Presumably, such accidents occur when cars run into the rear end of slow-moving or stopped semi trucks as a result of driving too fast or being inattentive.

Travel Safely

Although these statistics are daunting and unnerving, we hope that being aware of the risks will encourage you to exercise additional care when driving around trucks. Defensive driving is your responsibility, and practicing it will keep you and your family safe. Keep the following tips in mind when on the roadways this holiday season.

  • Avoid blind spots. Blind spots are indicated on the back of trucks for a good reason. Trucks really are unable to see cars in those areas, which means a truck driver might think they are clear to make a lane change when a car is actually travelling in a precarious, invisible spot. Avoiding these areas can help avoid an accident.
  • Pass trucks carefully. You should always expect that a truck, like another car, might abruptly cut into a lane that is currently open. You are in charge of your own safety, and being aware of this possibility can help you plan and then react when it happens.
  • Expect air turbulence. As trucks travel down a highway, they cause air turbulence which can cause smaller cars to be buffeted. Over adjusting to buffeting can cause a car to hit the side of the truck or another vehicle. Anticipating such buffeting can avoid overcorrection.

Contact an Ocala Truck Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Traffic accidents, especially those involving trucks, can be catastrophic in terms of property damage, injury, and loss of life. If you or your loved one has been injured in any type of traffic accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Personal injury lawyer John Piccin has experience in getting justice for victims of traffic accidents, and is dedicated to helping clients injured on Florida roadways. He will advocate on your behalf to get you the justice you deserve. Call 800-969-5446 or 352-351-5446 to schedule a free consultation today.

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