There are few things as scary as coming up behind a tractor-trailer and seeing the words “student driver” across the back. But those with commercial driver licenses are often good truck drivers. Not only is it a requirement for their livelihood, but they all know that if they get into a crash, the other vehicle is likely going to have fatalities.
This is why it’s so important that other vehicles also drive safely around commercial vehicles, but far too many people take risks around large trucks. They try to cut in front of them, follow behind too closely, or they travel in the vehicle’s blind spots. Commercial drivers will do their best to stay out of the way, but some people take risks and cause an accident.
An example of this happened in late August of 2017, according to the AJC. A driver thought that a rock flung up from a truck cracked his windshield. In response, he pulled in front of the driver on the interstate and tried to force the trucker to stop his vehicle. The trucker naturally slowed down quickly to avoid hitting the road rage driver, but the vehicle following behind the trucker couldn’t avoid the situation and plowed into the back. The mother of five in that vehicle died at the scene.
In this case, the police found that the first driver was at fault. He’s now charged with vehicular homicide and a litany of other charges for what he did during the incident. The trucker was not charged.
Tractor-trailers can weigh 10-20 times more than the average vehicle. This is why they are so dangerous to hit. Their size makes them hit with much more force compared to a smaller vehicle. Additionally, their height can make the lower edge of the trailer high enough that smaller cars can fit underneath. This causes the trailer edge to crash directly into the windshield and cause severe trauma and death.
If you have a problem with a way a commercial driver is driving, don’t try to stop them. Instead, call the police. Many trucks also have a “How is my driving?” sticker. Take down the number and the tag number of the truck and then call when you’re in a safe location. Fleet companies use these programs to identify truckers who may need further training or removal from the road before a crash happens.
You should also give these large vehicles the right of way on roads. Don’t try to scoot in front of them or cut them off. Your car may be more nimble but even a light tap from a tractor-trailer can total a car. A good rule of thumb is to stay in positions where you can see the mirrors of the commercial vehicle. This will guarantee that you are not following too closely behind them. Also, stay out of their blind spots as best as you can.
However, not all truck drivers are safe drivers. If you have been injured by a commercial vehicle or had a loved one killed in such an accident, you need to get the situation properly investigated and get the compensation you deserve. Your first step is to call The Cochran Firm for a free consultation. The sooner you call after your accident, the sooner we can get to work to get you the help you need.