Accidents that involve large commercial trucks often cause severe injury or death when the truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle. Truck drivers travel long distances on strict schedules, which sometimes causes driver fatigue. Other causes of truck accidents include aggressive driving and distracted driving. Fortunately, Melbourne residents can significantly reduce their risk of becoming involved in a truck accident by learning to identify and respond to signs that an accident may occur.
Florida truck drivers and aggressive driving
Sometimes inexperienced or poorly qualified commercial truck drivers will operate their vehicle in a manner that is simply unsafe. Trucks have a longer stopping distance compared to passenger vehicles. Therefore a truck driver should never tailgate or follow too closely. Speeding is dangerous for smaller vehicles; large trucks should especially follow the posted speed limit. Abruptly changing lanes without signaling is also a much more hazardous driving behavior when exhibited by a person who is behind the wheel of a large truck. Watching out for and avoiding trucks that show these signs of aggressive driving can prevent accidents and save lives.
Signs of distracted truck drivers in Florida
Distracted driving can also be observed among truck drivers and should be avoided for safety. If a truck driver is eating while operating a commercial vehicle, his or her ability to control the vehicle and react quickly to road conditions may be compromised. Talking on the phone or on a radio may also divert the driver’s attention from the road.
Commercial truckers and fatigue
Truck drivers are often required to work long hours. In some industries, regulations that require employers to enforce rest breaks and time off during and in between trips are more lax. Therefore, some truckers are at a greater risk for becoming involved in an accident simply because they are tired due to extensive shift requirements. Signs of a fatigued or drowsy driver include inability to maintain the appropriate lane, veering in one direction, or showing down for unexplained reasons.
What you can do
Drivers who notice signs that a truck driver may not be fully alert and engaged in operating his or her commercial vehicle safely can take several actions to reduce the likelihood of a collision. Other general driving strategies can make sharing the road with large trucks a much safer experience. Taking steps to report peculiar driving behavior can help law enforcement get dangerous drivers off the roads.
Follow from a safe distance
While it is best to avoid driving directly behind a truck, drivers who must remain behind a large commercial vehicle should leave ample space to allow enough room to safely adjust if the truck driver slows down or stops abruptly. Drivers of passenger vehicles should also be sure they maintain a large enough following distance to allow visibility of the road conditions ahead and on both sides.
Pass on the truck’s driver side
Trucks have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. The truck’s largest blind spot is on its passenger side. While it is generally a sound practice for passenger vehicles to avoid lingering on the passenger side of a truck, passenger cars should always pass trucks on the driver side to better enable the truck driver to see the smaller car.
Avoid making abrupt moves in front of trucks
Trucks require more room to stop. Therefore, even if a truck driver is alert and exercising safe driving habits, a collision may occur if a passenger vehicle does not allow enough room for the truck to adjust to changes in speed and direction. Passenger vehicles should also never make a left turn in front of a truck because it can sometimes be difficult to judge the speed of an approaching truck.
Identify aggressive, intoxicated or drowsy drivers
If a truck is speeding or driving erratically, it is best to slow down and avoid driving in front of or in close proximity to the truck. This also means avoiding driving behind the truck because the driver may make a sudden stop or cause a collision and trigger a multi-vehicle collision. Anytime a truck is travelling at an unsafe speed or in a direction that seems unusual, the best action is to move away from the truck and to remain out of the path in which it appears to be traveling.
Reporting dangerous driving in Florida
After moving into a safe place, drivers should report unusual behavior by commercial truck operators. Most large commercial vehicles display a company name and number other drivers on the road can call to report dangerous driving. Florida drivers may also call the state highway patrol or simply dial 911 to provide details to law enforcement about the hazardous behavior. Reporting dangerous drivers can keep the truck driver and others safe by allowing police to locate and stop the vehicle before an accident takes place.
What to do in the event of a truck accident
Taking measures to avoid an accident is the best approach to remaining safe on Melbourne roads. However, if a truck collision occurs and results in injury, the injured party should first seek medical evaluation and treatment then call a truck accident attorney in Melbourne or Titusville. An experienced accident lawyer will work to gather the facts of the case and diligently fight for the compensation the accident victim deserves. A lawyer can help the injured party receive compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Entrusting a lawyer with the legal details allows the accident victim to simply focus on healing and recovery.
Reporting dangerous driving in florida