Driving on Tennessee’s interstates poses a number of safety hazards. With their vast size and incredible weight, commercial trucks are one of the greatest threats to vehicle drivers. A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that approximately 55 percent of commercial trucking accidents are caused by truck drivers. Therefore, almost half of trucking accidents could be avoided if vehicle drivers responded differently. How should you be safely sharing Tennessee’s highways with trucks?
What are the major causes of truck accidents?
When truck drivers cause a serious accident, the primary cause is driver error. Several key factors can increase a trucker's chances for accident:
- Inattention – Truck drivers are behind the wheel for hours each day which can lead to inattention, fatigue and distraction.
- User error – A poorly trained truck driver is more likely to make key driving mistakes such as delayed breaking, driving too closely to other vehicles or driving too quickly given the weather conditions.
- Poor driving – All drivers, regardless of training, can panic, overcompensate or use poor driving decisions while on the road.
What can you do to stay safe?
Due to their smaller size, vehicle drivers face a higher risk of serious injury or death if involved in a trucking accident. When you are driving near trucks on the interstate:
- Stay out of a truck’s blind spots.Trucks have more blind spots than smaller vehicles. Review trucks’ blind spots to ensure that you do not drive in one of these areas. If they do not see you, a truck can easily change lanes right into your car.
- Give trucks more space. Do not swerve directly in front of a truck when you change lanes. Trucks take more time to slow down due to their greater size and weight. If you cut in front of them, they may not be able to stop in time to prevent an accident.
- Be aware of turbulence. Trucks can cause air turbulence or cross-winds when travelling at high speeds. Be aware of possible jostling that can surprise drivers passing trucks on the highway. Keep your hands firmly on the wheel and be ready to correct your car’s movements if necessary.
Despite drivers’ best efforts, there is always the chance of serious accident. If you find yourself in a serious truck accident, contact an attorney who can help you develop a strong legal strategy for recovering compensation.