Truck accidents in Illinois are common and often devastating. When a passenger vehicle is hit by a commercial truck, the car could be pulverized, and your injuries may be severe.
Fortunately, many truck crashes can be avoided if you drive defensively. If you want to avoid big truck wrecks, follow the tips below. However, our Rolling Meadows truck accident lawyers at Claim Your Justice are ready to help if you were seriously injured in a truck accident.
Give The Big Rig A Lot Of Room
Tractor trailers need much more room to slow down and stop. They also need more space to turn safely. Tire blowouts often happen. So, driving close to a truck when you do not need to can lead to more accidents. Give the big rig a lot of room and get by them as quickly as possible without violating the law. Here are some pointers:
Leave a minimum of four seconds of stopping time between your car and the truck in front of you. Give the truck more room if it is turning. Some of the largest rigs take two lanes when making a left or right turn. Your vehicle could be damaged or crushed if it is too close.
Avoid passing a truck on the right side; you could be trapped between the truck, curb, or shoulder. Also, truckers expect you to pass on the left, so do what they expect so you stay safe.
Why are turns so hazardous for trucks and vehicles near them? First, passenger vehicle drivers should know that trucks are much taller and have a higher center of gravity. This means it is much easier for the truck to roll over during a turn. You do not want your car beside a truck that rolls over. Also, we must think about the cargo the trailer is carrying. Heavy and even hazardous materials in the rig could seriously injure or kill you during a turn and rollover.
Also, many trailers have a display sign or sticker on the back warning drivers not to pass them on the right. This is because most big rigs have a 55-foot turning radius, which means they must veer left before making a right turn. This creates a multi-lane turn zone that could hit other vehicles. In addition, if the truck did not make wide turns, it would almost certainly veer off the road or clip what is on a corner and overturn during turns. So, you should always give trucks room when they are turning.
Never Stay In Their Blind Spots
Tractor trailers have much larger blind spots than your car. They are much longer than passenger vehicles, so there are significant blind spots around the rig. The blind places you should stay away from are:
- 20 feet in front of the big rig
- 30 feet behind the truck
- Two car widths on the right side
- The driver’s side of the truck from the driver’s seat to halfway of the trailer length
You sometimes need to be in the truck’s blind spots. However, try to stay there for as little time as possible. You also should not tailgate the truck because the driver cannot see you. Plus, you cannot see around the truck and may be unable to stop if there is traffic ahead.
Pass Quickly, But Legally
Big rigs cannot stop nearly as fast as your car. So, when you need to pass the truck, you should do so quickly and safely without breaking the speed limit. You can pass safely by only passing on the left side where the driver expects. Also, never pass when going up or down a large hill.
Do Not Drive Distracted
Driving distracted kills thousands of Americans annually. It is never wise to drive distracted, but it is even more hazardous when near a truck. Some of the distractions you should avoid when driving include:
- Phone calls and texts from cell phones and smart tablets
- Things rolling in or around inside the car
- Scenery and signs outside the vehicle
- Passengers, pets, and children
- Drinks and food
- Putting on makeup
- Thinking about frustrations and problems
Use Your Turn Signals
Using turn signals to tell other drivers your intentions is always safest. However, using signals near trucks is even more critical. One of the most effective ways to avoid a truck crash is to use a turn signal, so the trucker knows what you will do.
A common cause of truck accidents is when a passenger vehicle moves over in front of a truck and suddenly turns without using a turn signal. The problem is the truck takes much longer to slow down than your car. As a result, the truck could slam into the rear of your vehicle at high speed, leaving you with severe or even fatal injuries. Worse, you may not be able to argue negligence against the truck driver.
Trucks have what is called ‘brake lag’ in the automotive industry. Tractor-trailers have air brakes, not hydraulic brakes. Air brakes take longer to work than hydraulic brakes.
You may have heard a whooshing noise when air escapes a truck’s brake system as it slows next to you in traffic. This is because when the trucker first taps the brakes, air must build up in the system and spread the length of the vehicle before it starts to slow. This adds significant time and distance.
Move Over When A Truck Is Stopped
When a truck driver has a mechanical difficulty or blow out, they may pull over onto the highway shoulder. You should never pass close to a truck at high speed. Try and move over one lane for a stopped vehicle.
Yield To A Truck That Is Changing Lanes
Trucks move slower than our cars most of the time. So, it is tempting to get around them, such as when they switch lanes. But you should yield to a semi that is changing lanes to avoid any chance of an accident.
What If The Trucker Is To Blame For An Accident?
Following the tips mentioned above will reduce your odds of getting in a deadly truck crash. However, there are still many accidents where the truck’s brakes were the cause of the accident. Trucking companies sometimes do not correctly maintain their rigs’ brakes, and this causes serious accidents.
Trucking companies ensure that truck brakes and other systems are well maintained. If they do not do so, you could be entitled to compensation for your accident injuries. The lawyers at Claim Your Justice will help evaluate your case.
How To Get A Larger Truck Accident Settlement
The tips mentioned here will help you avoid tractor-trailer accidents, but what if you were already in one? How can you get more money for your settlement? Keep the following ideas in mind:
Always Hire An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
The first step after a truck accident is receiving medical attention for your injuries. Next, call a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Of course, the trucker’s insurance company will hope you do not call a lawyer. That is why you should not be surprised if you get a quick phone call from the insurance company a few hours after the accident.
The insurance company is not interested in your well-being, no matter what they say. They really want to get you to take a fast settlement before hiring an attorney. The insurance company knows they will pay a higher amount of compensation when a personal injury attorney is involved.
Let Your Attorney Talk To The Insurance Company
After you sign with a personal injury attorney, do not communicate with the trucking company or their insurance provider. If you receive phone calls or emails, refer them to your attorney. The trucking and insurance companies will try to twist anything you say to use against your claim. All it takes is to say, ‘I wasn’t injured’ after the crash to cause trouble for your claim. Plus, the insurance company will probably try to record anything you talk to them about. Always have your attorney speak to the insurance provider while you focus on a quick and complete recovery.
Know Your Claim’s Worth and Value
Every truck accident claim is different, but you should have a rough idea of what your claim is worth. The first step is collecting all your medical bills and lost earnings statements. These documents give you an idea of your economic damages in the case. If you still need to finish medical treatments, you will need to wait until those treatments are completed for the case to move forward to a conclusion. When you have all of your medical bills and lost earnings statements, you know roughly the economic value of the case. Claim Your Justice will help you evaluate the value of your pain and suffering.
Contact Our Rolling Meadows Truck Accident Attorney Today
When you are seriously injured in a truck accident in Rolling Meadows near Woodfield Mall or The Sculpture Park, you may be entitled to a substantial settlement for your injuries if the trucker was negligent. Our Rolling Meadows truck accident lawyers at Claim Your Justice can help, so contact our Rolling Meadows truck accident lawyers at 847-434-3555.