Categorized | Opinion

Tractor trailer crashes

By David Peel

David PeelWhether it be on I 40 or I 55 Tennessee accidents involving tractor trailers are always serious and sometimes fatal.
In tractor trailer crashes, 98 percent of fatalities occur to the individuals in the cars and SUVs around them.
Tractor trailers often weigh over 80,000 pounds.  As an injury lawyer who has recovered compensation for injuries and deaths from trucking companies, I see first hand the pain and suffering caused in the interstate crashes in and around Memphis, Tennessee.
According to The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), About 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Of these, approximately 5,000 trucking accidents result in fatalities.
In fact, one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision.
In 2008, 68 percent of all fatal truck accidents occurred in the country areas rather than urban areas.
In one study 78 percent of the total fatal truck accidents happened on a weekend. Driving under the influence (DUI) causes many fatal truck accidents.
As drivers of cars, small trucks and SUVs, we can practice more attentive, courteous and even defensive driving in relation to heavy trucks. Clip these and share these with your drivers to help us all stay safer:
1. Stay out of their “no-zones”. They have blind spots bigger than your car. If you cannot easily see their mirrors, they cannot see you. This means don’t tailgate.
2. Try to avoid passing a truck on the right.  They may be about to merge or turn right.
Especially never try to pass on the right when the truck could be swinging out wide left make a right turn. If you do this, you are likely to wind up underneath the trailer being dragged for a few miles until somebody stops him because he will not even feel the weight of your car.
3.  Avoid driving alongside them for extended distances. They can see much farther than you. And as a result, they may merge left rather suddenly because of a cop, car or truck stopped on the right-hand shoulder that you don’t see. You don’t want them to forget you’re there. You should always assume that the truck is going to change lanes unexpectedly and be ready for that.
4. Do not ever cut a truck off. In other words do not merge directly in front of the truck only to apply your brakes suddenly. And 80,000 pound tractor-trailer just cannot stop on a dime. You leave him with three bad choices: jerk left, jerk right or drive over you.
Having represented some truck drivers in accidents, I can tell you that this is their biggest complaint with what they call “four wheelers” (people in cars.)
5. Do not drive slowly in the fast lane. The left lane is known as the passing lane. If you are not passing people get into the right lane. Also it helps all of us if you’ll drive some consistent speed.
6. Understand the code of headlights.
If someone in another lane Flashes their lights at you it means to dim your lights. If they turn their lights on and off it means that there’s a police officer ahead.
But turning your lights on and off to a truck driver if you’re going to same direction means that it safe for him to merge over in front of you. Remember he can’t see his rear end very well on a 53 foot long trailer.
It’s a great help to him if he clears the front of your car and can safely move over for you to flash your lights on and off a couple times. He’ll usually flash his back in a thank you gesture.
Treat the truck drivers with respect. Everything you eat, everything you wear and The very car you were driving all was delivered by truck. Most truck operators are quite professional and have excellent safety records.
Let’s keep it that way by being safe around them and giving them a break.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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