Where Do Most Truck Accidents Occur?
According to data from the National Safety Council (NSC), almost 5,000 people are killed in truck accidents in the US every year. Although large trucks only account for 4 percent of all registered vehicles on the road, they account for 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents.
Have you or someone you love been severely injured or killed in a truck accident? If so, please be assured that you do not have to handle everything alone. The compassionate legal team at Phillips Law Group is here to help. Our truck accident lawyers can investigate your case, inform you of your legal rights, file all necessary paperwork, and negotiate a just and fair settlement on your behalf.
Statistics Indicate That More Accidents Occur in Rural Areas
While a collision involving a large truck can occur on any street or highway, statistics have shown that there are certain areas where fatal trucking accidents occur more often. Some might assume that semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents happen more frequently on busy highways with high traffic congestion.
However, statistically, large truck accidents happen more often in quiet rural areas outside of city limits. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that as many as 57 percent of fatal traffic accidents occurred in rural areas.
Dangers of Driving in Rural Areas vs. Highly Populated Areas
Whether truck drivers are traveling on a rural or city roadway, they need to obey all traffic laws and follow safe driving practices.
Truck driving in urban areas
The speed limit may be 65 mph or higher on rural roadways. However, in urban areas, the speed limit is usually reduced. Some cities even have a reduced speed limit specifically for large trucks, which is generally 10 mph less than standard-size vehicles. In addition, there are urban locations that limit which lanes within city limits that semis and tractor-trailers are allowed to use.
In general, truck drivers tend to reduce their speed and be more alert to their surroundings in urban locations. Since there are more vehicles and pedestrians to keep track of, they will likely be more vigilant and take care to avoid causing an accident.
Truck driving in rural areas
In a rural area, truck drivers may have long stretches of open road, devoid of drivers or pedestrians. The lack of traffic, towns, and people can lead to a driver lowering his or her guard and becoming less attentive to the task of driving.
Long stretches of road can be hypnotic, drivers traveling perhaps several miles without being aware of their surroundings. The monotony of the drive may even lull a person to fall asleep while behind the wheel.
A trucker may become bored and engage in distracted driving behaviors such as texting, eating, watching a video, or reading. All such distractions can cause a driver to be distracted from the road and cause a severe accident.
Additional Risks for Truck Drivers on Rural Roads
Additional factors that may contribute to the higher number of fatal car accidents in rural areas may include:
- Failure to wear a seatbelt: Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of injury and death in a motor vehicle accident. Studies have found that drivers and passengers are less likely to buckle up in rural areas.
- Lack of traffic signs or signals: In rural areas, roads can stretch on for many miles without a stop sign or traffic lights. Without signs and signals, drivers sometimes feel they can drive more recklessly and at higher speeds.
- Abuse of alcohol: A truck driver may feel like it is acceptable to consume alcohol while in a rural area since there are not many vehicles or people around. However, drinking and driving is extremely dangerous whether you are in an urban or rural location.
- Lack of medical facilities: When a truck accident occurs in a rural setting, victims may be many miles away from the nearest trauma center. The lack of access to medical care increases the chance of a collision ending in a fatality.
- Unsafe roads: While roads within city limits are usually maintained regularly, rural roads may have large potholes or steep drop-offs. A driver could start to skid and lose control of the truck, especially if speeding or driving recklessly.
How to Reduce the Risk of a Truck Accident Occurring
If you have ever driven down a highway, you have likely had the frightening experience of having to swerve out of the path of a semi-truck changing lanes or you have looked in your rear-view mirror to see a tractor-trailer coming up behind you at a high speed. The massive size and weight of an 18-wheeler make them frightening to share the road with when you are in a standard-size vehicle.
It is the responsibility of both truck drivers and other motorists to drive defensively and try to prevent accidents from occurring.
The following are tips to prevent a truck accident:
- Increase your following distance. Driving too closely behind a large truck limits your visibility ahead, including stopped traffic, construction zones, or other obstacles in the roadway. When you leave a space cushion of at least 3 seconds between your vehicle and the semi, you will have time to react if you need to suddenly stop or swerve.
- Stay out of a truck’s blind spot. If possible, pass a truck on the driver’s side. They have a wider blind spot on the passenger side. Try to pass as quickly as the speed limit allows, and do not remain in their blind spot for longer than necessary.
- Do not speed. High-speed collisions tend to result in more fatalities. A speed reduction of even just 5 or 10 mph can improve truck safety and turn a high-impact collision into one with a greater chance of survival.
- Eliminate distractions. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of all motor vehicle accidents. Nowadays, people are using their smartphones more while they drive, and for longer periods of time. It is important for drivers of both trucks and standard-size vehicles to eliminate all driving distractions.
- Be cautious when a truck is turning. Trucks usually have to swing wide and sometimes use multiple lanes when turning. Do not follow a truck too closely while it is turning. If possible, standard-size vehicles should allow a truck to complete its maneuver before turning or entering an intersection.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Truck accidents can leave victims suffering physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or someone you love has been severely injured or killed in a truck accident, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. The personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Group can review your case, file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, and help you recover the financial compensation you are entitled to.
Our law firm believes that everyone deserves skilled legal representation regardless of his or her current financial situation. For this reason, we take all truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we charge no upfront fees and only require payment if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
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