IA motorists should use caution when sharing the road with large trucks

Drivers should know how to drive safely around tractor trailers in order to avoid becoming involved in a large truck accident.

Large tractor trailers traverse Iowa roadways on a regular basis, delivering essential products throughout the state and across the country. Many people, however, fail to understand the dangers that these massive vehicles pose to other motorists. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, large trucks tower over smaller motor vehicles on the road. Furthermore, not all tractor trailers are operated by well-trained and attentive truckers. Motorists can reduce their risk of becoming involved in a large truck accident by driving safely around big rigs.

The deadly facts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large trucks killed 3,802 people in 2012. Approximately 65 of those deaths occurred in Iowa, which accounted for 13.2 percent of all motor vehicle deaths that year. In fact, large truck accidents across the nation have increased significantly since 2009.

Common causes of truck accidents

One reason for the high rate of tractor trailer accidents and deaths in the U.S. stems from truck driver negligence. Distracted, drunk and drowsy truckers risk the lives of thousands of motorists every day. In an attempt to decrease the number of accidents caused by delinquent truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration strengthened federal regulations involving cellphone use and the amount of time truckers could spend behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many large truck operators and trucking companies alike violate these regulations.

Bad weather conditions can be another danger for large trucks. Ice, snow, rain, fog and high winds can increase the risk of an accident for high-profile tractor trailers. Truck drivers that drive too fast through these treacherous conditions may be unable to stop, jackknife or overturn as a result.

Although the FMCSA requires trucking companies and truck drivers to inspect their big rigs on a regular basis, equipment malfunctions continue to be a major cause of large truck accidents. Trucks that are not loaded properly are also more likely to cause problems.

Playing it safe

There are several ways that motorists can drive safely around big rigs. According to State Farm, motorists should:

  • Allow plenty of room for tractor trailers to make wide turns.
  • Stay out of trucks' blind spots, which are especially big on the right-hand side and back of the truck.
  • Never pull out directly in front of a large truck, as they require a longer distance to stop.
  • Avoid traveling behind a big rig, but rather pass them quickly on the left-hand side.

Drivers should understand that if they cannot see the trucker's rear-view mirror, then the truck driver cannot see them.

What to do in the case of an accident

Large truck accidents can cause physical, emotional and financial devastation. Victims who have been injured or have lost a loved one in a truck accident may want to explore their legal options. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages from work, property damage and pain. An attorney in Iowa may be able to help you build a strong personal injury case and help you get your life back on track.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury