With the end of summer quickly approaching, many of us will be taking to
the roads for Labor Day weekend, vacations, or to take college students
back to school. As you head out on the highways, you need to be especially
alert of the dangers posed by sharing the road with tractor trailers and
other commercial vehicles. As a Philadelphia lawyer who regularly handles
truck and commercial vehicle injury cases throughout Pennsylvania and
New Jersey, Shrager, Spivey & Sachs Managing Partner Rob Sachs, Jr.
is especially aware of the dangers each of us face when we head out on
the roads and highways.
When you follow, approach, pass or are ahead of trucks on the road, keep
these tips in mind:
They can't see you very easily - professional truck drivers have to rely on their mirrors to see what
is behind them. Make sure they can see you as you approach them. This
is a useful diagram to understand what truck drivers can and can't see: y
ou have to pay attention to when you are in the driver's blind spot; and d
on't linger when passing a truck, and always have a safe "out"
in mind if the truck swerves or comes into your lane while you are passing
Trucks are much heavier than cars and they don't maneuver nearly as easily – Most tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds (even more
for "tandem" trailers), it takes longer to stop. Don't cut
in front of a truck, leave plenty of room and signal before changing lanes
in front of a truck. Truck drivers will often flash their lights as a
signal that they see you and it's clear for you to change lanes. Consider
doing the same when a truck is trying to move in front of you - you'll
be surprised how often the truck will blink its running lights to say
"thanks for being courteous to a truck."
Truckers are allowed to drive up to 11 hours/day – How alert are you after doing
anything for 11 hours? You'll never know if the truck you are approaching is
at the beginning or end of his or her shift...why take a chance? Always
assume that the truck driver near you might not be as alert as at other
times of the day.
When you sit for 11 hours every day and eat on the road, it is hard to
maintain a healthy lifestyle. The incidence of obesity among truck drivers
is very high. One of the biggest complications of obesity is sleep apnea...you'll
never know if the driver of the truck ahead of you got a horrible night's
sleep due to sleep apnea. This risk just compounds the potential danger
of over-tired drivers on America's roads
Truckers come from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico - The driver might not know the directions and that could cause sudden
or unexpected changes. Expect the unexpected - especially when you're
near a truck. Even worse, the driver may not speak English. Every driver
in the U.S. is supposed to be able to read and speak English. Sadly, in
our practice we have seen examples where this simply isn't true. A
driver who can't read signs and follow directional instructions is
a danger to you and your family.
The vast majority of American truckers drive very safely. However, a small
percentage of drivers don't follow the rules and endanger all of us.
You can make a difference in your family's safety on the roads by
following these simple safety tips.
If you or a member of your family is injured by a truck or commercial vehicle,
call the experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey truck accident lawyers at
Shrager, Spivey & Sachs at (888) 899-0652 for a free initial consultation.