Trucks are a vital part of the economy in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, but they also pose a deadly risk to those who share the road with them. The average large truck weighs approximately 12,000 to 80,000 pounds, which is up to 25 times the weight of the average passenger car. They require more stopping distance and more time to turn. They have larger blind spots. And they are especially hazardous when involved in collisions.
Yet while many passenger vehicles now come standard with safety features like lane departure warnings, stability control, blind spot warnings, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warnings, large trucks are lagging behind.
Sharing the road with large trucks
Consumer Reports outlined a list of "trouble spots" surrounding big rigs that may help those who share the road lower their risk of a collision. These include:
- Allow at least 20 feet between you and the front of a large truck before merging in front of a trucker. Remember that it takes large trucks 40 percent more time to stop than you. Drivers should be able to fully spot the truck's headlights before merging in front of a truck.
- Stay at least 30 feet behind a large truck. This is important because vehicles that tailgate a large truck are going to be at risk not just of a possible rear-end collision, but also being too close to avoid any debris the vehicle may kick up.
- If you need to pass a truck, quickly pass on its left. There is an area just behind the truck driver's drive-side mirror all the way to nearly the back of the truck in which the trucker cannot see you. If you're passing a truck, don't linger there; you will increase your crash danger.
- When you are on the right of a truck, remember two things. First, truck drivers have massive blind spots on the right, so it's best to pass on the left or at least avoid riding continuously to a truck's right. Secondly, be wary of the fact that large trucks make wide turns on city streets, so staying to a truck's right could put you at risk of injury.
All of these risks could be mitigated if large trucks were equipped with modern safety technology. However, as discussed in the Consumer Reports article, one report by Securing America's Future Energy reveals that fewer than 1 in 5 commercial trucks were equipped with even forward collision mitigation systems as of 2015. These systems, along with several of the other technological safety features, could potentially slash the number of large truck accidents in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other states by as much as 107,000 a year. That would mean a 28 percent reduction in truck crashes.
If you are injured in a truck accident in Ohio, West Virginia or Pennsylvania, contact our law firm today to learn more about how we can help hold responsible parties accountable and help you obtain compensation.