The traffic and mountainous terrain of Colorado highways make them daunting for passenger vehicles to navigate, and even more for semi-trucks. These vehicles are significantly larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle and carry more power behind their wheels.
But with this power also comes limitations, mainly in visibility and reaction times. These two shortcomings are often the cause of truck accidents, but savvy drivers can take steps to prevent these accidents.
What are the main types and causes of truck accidents?
Five of the most common types of truck accidents are:
- Jackknife: when the truck’s trailer folds in against the cab
- Rollover: when the entire truck flips on its side or top
- Override: when the truck drives over the rear of a smaller vehicle
- Underride: when a smaller vehicle drives underneath the truck’s trailer
- Squeeze Play: when a right-turning truck swings wide and a car in the right adjacent lane tries to overtake the truck, getting squeezed against the curb or shoulder in the process
While driver negligence or mechanical failures cause some of these accidents, drivers who do not take extra care when driving near semi-trucks are often the cause.
Most drivers do not consider the size of a truck’s blind spots, how a truck’s size affects its ability to turn, and how long it takes to come to a complete stop.
What are a semi truck’s no-zones?
The no-zones are the four areas where semi truck drivers cannot see objects around their vehicle. These zones are:
- Twenty feet in front of the cab.
- One lane directly to the left of the cab, including the length of half of the trailer.
- Two lanes to the right of the cab, extending in a diagonal field from the right cab window and out.
- Thirty feet from the rear of the cab.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a diagram showing exactly where these no-zones are and the safest areas in which to travel around trucks. (Remember, if you cannot see the driver in his or her side mirror, he or she likely has no idea you are there.)
Always pass quickly on the left side to ensure you stay out of the blind spot.
Why are turning trucks more dangerous?
Most semi trucks have a turning radius of 55 feet; because of this wide turning radius, the cab and the trailer can appear to go in different directions in the middle of a turn.
For this reason, drivers should never attempt to overtake a truck on the right. When coming up to an intersection, always watch a truck’s turn signals to help predict the driver’s next move.
What should I do to stay safe around trucks?
Just being aware of the truck’s no-zones and giving them distance and space to make turns will help reduce your risk of being involved in an accident with a truck.
Another thing to be aware of is the amount of time it takes for a truck to stop. According to State Farm, a loaded semi-truck can take up to 200 yards to come to a stop while going 65 miles per hour.
When changing into a lane with a truck behind you, make sure you give several vehicle lengths’ worth of space to move into the lane. If you cut in too close, the truck driver might not have time to slow down and avoid an override accident.
Take extra care in rain or icy weather, as all vehicles can take longer to stop due to the road conditions. These types of adverse weather can also increase the likelihood of rollover or jackknife accidents when trucks have to make sudden stops.
What should I do if I am in a truck accident?
Trucking accidents can be complicated and frustrating. The trucking company might attempt to avoid liability for your injuries by blaming you or even destroying evidence. The Colorado truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC, will protect all evidence and deflect all accusations of fault.
In addition to protecting and gathering evidence, we will develop your claim to account for the full extent of your damages, not just your current medical bills or lost wages.
For more information on what your claim might be worth, call 303-758-4777 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.