Large commercial trucks are a common sight on Indiana roads. The state is one of the most deadly in the country for fatal car accidents involving trucks, and head-on collisions are part of that.
Understanding what causes head-on crashes with trucks and how to avoid them can save lives.
What Is a Head-On Collision?
There are two types of head-on collisions: single-vehicle and multi-vehicle. A single-vehicle head-on collision happens when the driver of a motor vehicle crashes directly into a stationary object. Multi-vehicle head-on collisions are when two motorists collide with each other when driving in opposite directions.
Any head-on crash can lead to catastrophic injuries, but even more so when one or more vehicles in a commercial truck.
Head-on collisions are not the most common type of truck accident, but the ratio of accidents to fatalities is very high. When large trucks are involved in this type of crash, serious injuries, including broken bones, internal organ damage, spinal damage, and traumatic brain injuries, are all too common. A semi accident attorney in Indianapolis can help with the next steps.
The two things that make head-on truck accidents so dangerous are the force generated by the weight of the truck and the risk of being crushed or trapped in the vehicle.
What Causes Head-On Truck Accidents?
Driver error and carelessness are the leading causes of head-on collisions. When trucks are involved, there is usually a poor decision that fails to account for the additional risks that come with sharing the road with such a large vehicle.
Some of the most common reasons include:
An unsafe passing attempt made by a passenger vehicle
Speeding- especially around blind corners when the other driver is coming the opposite way
Careless turning at junctions and intersections into oncoming traffic
Truck tire blowout that causes a vehicle to swerve into an oncoming vehicle
Poor visibility, either at night or due to bad weather conditions
Road obstacles that force drivers out of their lane (including animals, spilled cargo, and fallen branches)
Driver fatigue or otherwise impaired driving
Driving in a vehicle's blind spots
Head-on collisions are most common on undivided roads where two vehicles driving in opposite directions do not leave enough. Rural areas are especially prone to fatal head-on collisions with commercial vehicles.
Who Is At Fault in Head-On Truck Collisions?
Fault in a head-on collision usually lies with the driver who crossed into the oncoming lane. If one vehicle crosses over the center line and collides with oncoming traffic, they are most likely to blame. This is not always the case, as other things cause head-on crashes.
Proving fault comes down to showing negligence, and it can be that more than one party shares the blame. If one driver comes around a corner above the speed limit and a truck is coming the other way taking up more than just their lane, it could be a case of comparative negligence. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions like What can you do to avoid rear-end truck accidents in Indiana?
How to Avoid Head-On Collisions with Truck Drivers in Indiana: Seven Top Tips
Any head-on collision has the potential to cause fatal injuries, especially when a truck driver is involved. Here are some tips for staying safe on the road and reducing the risk of collisions head-on with commercial trucks. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also provide tips on what you can do to avoid brake failure accidents in Indiana.
1: Drive Defensively, Not Reactively
Safe driving has a lot to do with driving defensively to actively avoid accidents- rather than relying on other motorists to act how they are meant to. Instead of waiting for something to happen and then trying to react quickly enough, drivers should be aware of the potential situations that could occur and have a plan of action in case they occur.
When trucks are around, drivers should adjust the way they use the road to account for the possible risks. Looking for hazards, planning ahead, and driving with intention can all help people stay safe.
2: Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving is a killer. People driving while using their phones, adjusting items in their cars, listening to loud music, or daydreaming are less equipped to respond effectively to threats on the road. Keeping two hands on the steering wheel whenever possible and both eyes on the road ahead can infinitely reduce the risk of a head-on collision.
Even if they are driving in the right direction comfortably in the middle of their lane, it doesn't mean a truck coming the opposite way can't hit them. If people are not paying attention to the situations going on around them, accidents are more likely to happen.
3: Always Stick to the Speed Limit
Drive safely and stick to the speed limit at all times. Many head-on collisions happen because people take corners too quickly and hit a truck coming the other way. Vehicles traveling too quickly also have less time to react to something coming straight at them.
4: Stay In the Right Lane Whenever Possible
When driving on interstates and other highways where trucks are most common, drivers should stick to the right lane as much as they can. The further they are from the oncoming traffic, the less likely they are to be involved in an accident.
5: Don't Hug the Center Line
Never straddle the center line or drive in the middle of an undivided road. Keep to the left and be prepared to pull right over if other drivers come in the opposite direction.
6: Never Attempt to Pass a Truck at an Unsafe Spot
Trucks have larger blind spots than other vehicles, including in front of them. Don't drive too closely or linger in blind spots and longer than necessary. If you attempt to pass, only do it when it is safe, the road ahead is visible, and there is space to pull over if necessary.
7: Stay Alert and Focused
Stay well rested and alert. Truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel can cause fatal accidents, and people need to be ready to react- especially when driving at night.
Arrange a Free Consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah to Discuss a Head-On Collision Truck or Car Accident
Anyone can lose control of their vehicle or be hit by negligent drivers failing to follow road rules. If someone is injured or killed in a head-on truck collision, they or their family could recover compensation.
Speak to the expert personal injury team at Schuerger Shunnarah to discuss an individual case.