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Hartford County residents learn to share the road with big rigs

Hartford County and America as a whole relies on tractor-trailer trucks to transport goods across the country, boosting the economy and commerce. Due to their large size and limited driving capabilities, however, semi-trucks are involved in thousands of motor vehicle collisions every year. In 2011 alone, 3,608 people were killed in collisions with big rigs nationwide. Not only are truck drivers responsible for causing a portion of these fatalities, but motorists are to blame as well. Many motorists engage in risky behaviors when driving around large trucks, putting both the truck driver and passenger car driver at risk. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety educates drivers on the proper way to navigate around these gigantic vehicles in a safe way.

Factors that lead to big rig accidents

Although all truck drivers must obtain a commercial driver's license in order to operate a big rig, some disregard essential safety practices when driving across country. Here are just a few hazards that big rig drivers must face.

  • The total weight of a tractor-trailer is approximately twenty to 30 times greater than that of a passenger vehicle. Trucks are also taller and have greater ground clearance, making it possible for small cars to fall underneath the truck.
  • Big rigs can carry large loads, which slow their braking time by twenty to forty percent. Driving in bad weather conditions, on slippery roads or with damaged brakes can decrease the stop time even further.
  • According to federal regulations, truck drivers are permitted to drive for 11 consecutive hours, totaling seventy-seventy hours in a week. Driver fatigue has been linked to many accidents, as truck drivers strive to meet deadlines and make more money.
  • Alcohol use and driving has also been a factor in semi-truck accidents; however, there are not as many drunk driving incidents involving truck drivers as there are motorists.
  • Defective equipment, including steering and braking equipment, can lead to accidents.
  • High winds can lead to problems for large trucks, especially if they are pulling multiple trailers. The connection points between trailers can become unstable, causing the truck to overturn or jackknife.

Understanding the driving limitations of a big rig may help you to better circumnavigate around them.

Safe driving practices

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety encourages motorists to adopt the following safe driving habits in order to prevent becoming involved in an accident with a big rig.

  • Avoid driving in the truck's blind spot for an extended period of time.
  • Never cut a truck off by pulling out in front of them.
  • Give the truck plenty of room to come to a complete stop.
  • Never follow a truck too closely.

If you see a semi-truck driving irresponsibly, it is important to call and report it to authorities.

Call for help

If you become involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, it is imperative that you contact a reputable personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney in Hartford County can help to maximize your compensation for property damage, injuries and personal trauma.