Keep Caution: Five Safety Tips For Driving Alongside Big Rigs That Can Save Your Life

Tragedy befell commuters in DeSoto Parish that ultimately changed many lives in Bunkie, LA.

Shortly before 7 p.m. on December 22, 2017, 24-year-old Bunkie native Hudson Lyles Bain, traveling in his 2011 GMC pickup, rear-ended the back of an 18-wheeler on I-49 for reasons yet to be determined.

To make a dire situation much worse, another 18-wheeler, operated by Irving native Jacob Ruben Tennell, impacted Bain’s pickup from behind, causing both vehicles to catch fire.

Unfortunately, both Bain and Tennell passed away from their injuries sustained from this terrible accident.

To the families and friends of the deceased, the New Orleans truck accident attorneys at Cardone Law Firm send their deepest condolences during these difficult times. In order to honor them, we believe it is important to bring awareness to a growing concern on our nation’s roads: large truck accidents.

Large Truck Accidents Are A Growing Danger on Our Roads

In 2016, 3,986 people succumbed to injuries sustained from large truck accidents. From this number, 17 percent of these deaths were truck occupants. A staggering 66 percent of the number of deaths were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.

The number of individuals who died in 2016 grew by 27 percent compared to data from 2009, where large truck accidents were at their lowest since the collection of fatal crash data began in 1975. In order to combat these rising statistics, we’ve come up with five safety tips all drivers should take into consideration when next to these big-rig behemoths.

1. Take Responsibility

The challenges of operating an 18-wheeler are certainly not for the faint of heart. Some of the tasks and issues drivers face include:

  • Limited visibility
  • Longer vehicle braking distances, often up to 20 to 40 more feet than a traditional vehicle, depending on cargo load
  • Transmission with up to 16 gears
  • Constant communication via radio
  • Time restraints
  • Dangerously low levels of rest

Assuming that an 18-wheel operator is in full control of their vehicle, is fully focused, and can easily see you on the road can mean serious injury or death in some instances. Make driving closely to a semi-truck safer for yourself and other drivers by being a defensive, responsible driver. Respect the size of these big rigs and never assume the driver is going to drive cautiously. It is up to you to do so.

2. Stay Out of a Big Rig’s Blind Spot

Avoid tailgating or closely driving parallel to the truck’s trailer. These are large blind spots that big rigs have and remaining in these areas is especially dangerous as you may not have sufficient time to react to any erratic stops or changes made by the semi-truck. Instead, keep about three to four car lengths away from the trailer if you are traveling behind one. This gives you enough time to react to any sudden changes in traffic.

When passing them on the interstate, pass by quickly on the left lane. If you are ahead of them on the right lane, slow down slightly, just enough for the operator to get the hint that he or she is allowed to pass you in the left lane quickly.

3. Don’t Buy Into the Drafting Myth

The drafting myth is the common belief that drivers can conserve fuel and improve their own gas mileage by driving very close to the backend of an 18-wheeler by utilizing aerodynamics. In other words – tailgating.

Don’t risk the safety of you and your family by falling for this myth as it requires you to be anxiously close to a traveling big rig.  Much, much closer than the three to four car recommendation. Any sudden changes while in transit can spell disaster.

4. Watch Out For Big Rig Right Turns

Big rigs need a lot of space when making right turns. In order to stay on the road, the operator has to overcompensate when making their turn and this may entail occupying multiple lanes. In order to preserve your own safety in this particular circumstance, let the operator have the lane if he or she is indicating that they are going to make a right turn. Don’t pull up to the right of the rig, especially in his or her blind spot, if their blinker light is signaling a right turn.

5. When the Weather is Poor, Stay Indoors

It’s no secret that heavy rain, ice, snow, or high winds can create dangerous driving conditions, but if you are an 18-wheeler operator, it’s just another workday. Driving during these harsh conditions may be a requirement for them in order to get their cargo to its rightful destination but if you don’t need to be out, then stay off the roads.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a large truck accident, trust in the Cardone Law firm to deliver the quality legal care your situation deserves.

Always obey traffic laws and respect big rigs’ presence on the road. Ultimately, your personal safety begins with you. However, if you are unfortunate enough to have experienced a large truck accident, our team of New Orleans personal injury attorneys are well-equipped to help fight for you, backed by 40 years of experience.

Contact us at 504-522-3333 to schedule your consultation today.

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