There are hundreds of thousands of traffic accidents involving trucks annually in the USA. Unfortunately, Indiana is considered one of the deadliest states for fatal truck accidents- with 17% of road accident deaths in the state happening when trucks or other large commercial vehicles are involved.
Many trucking accidents are rear-end collisions, which can easily lead to serious injuries. Following simple road rules and defensive driving tips can help people reduce the likelihood of a rear-end accident with a large commercial truck.
What are the major risk factors, and what can you do to avoid rear-end truck accidents in Indiana?
What Is a Rear-End Collision?
Rear-end collisions happen when one vehicle drives into the back end of another vehicle. This is one of the most common types of road accidents- ranging from minor bumps in parked or slow-moving traffic to fatal incidents on interstate highways.
They usually happen when the driver in front comes to a complete stop or decreases their speed, and the tailing vehicle does not react on time.
Rear-end collision injuries range from whiplash and soft tissue damage to broken bones, head injuries, and crushing injuries- particularly for the occupants of the second vehicle. If a passenger vehicle crashes into the back of a large truck, it can also cause significant property damage.
When passenger vehicles are rear-ended by large commercial trucks, the results are often more catastrophic for the smaller vehicle. Experienced semi accident lawyers in Indianapolis can give more information about this.
What Causes Rear-End Accidents with Commercial Trucks?
The most common causes of rear-end accidents in general are distracted driving and tailgating. Failure to pay enough attention or leave enough space between other vehicles and their own often leads to accidents.
With large trucks, there are added dangers. The above-mentioned reasons still apply, but another thing that makes large trucks prone to rear-end accidents is the blind spots.
Large vehicles have more blind spots than normal cars. It is up to truck drivers and the other drivers around them to understand blind spots and act accordingly. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is able to help answer other questions such as When trucks and cars are in crashes who is most often at fault?
Five Driving Tips to Reduce the Risk of Rear-End Collisions with Trucks
Here are the five top tips for avoiding rear-end commercial truck accidents in Indiana.
1: Pay Extra Attention When Driving Near a Large Commercial Vehicle
When sharing the road with a commercial truck or other large vehicles, drivers should be more attentive than ever. Defensive driving techniques should be used at all times, and any potential distractions removed.
Check mirrors frequently, be situationally aware, look for exit routes, and be prepared to react to anything that happens.
There are more risks involved with large trucks than other vehicles, including the cargo they carry, the size of the trailer, the risk of tipping, and the lack of visibility. Although the truck driver has a responsibility to operate their vehicle safely, other drivers must be cautious and understand the limitations of movement and reaction time that many large commercial truck drivers have.
2: Leave Plenty of Space
Tailgating is always dangerous, but driving too close to a truck is even more dangerous. Leave more space than the usual distance needed to provide a better view of the road ahead and allow more response time in case something goes wrong.
Drivers should remember that most truck drivers do not have rearview mirrors and have a big blind spot directly behind them (sometimes as far as 100 feet or more), so it is up to them to react accordingly.
3: Never Cut Off a Truck Driver
Never, under any circumstances, cut off a large truck. It is not particularly safe to do with another car, but it is a potentially fatal mistake with a large commercial vehicle.
Most trucks have a complete blind spot directly in front of them. If small passenger vehicles suddenly change lanes and cut them off, a crash is very likely to happen. A truck driver colliding into the back of a small car when they don't know it is there is as potentially catastrophic as it sounds.
4: Stick to the Speed Limit
Driving at a safe speed won't avoid every rear-end collision, but it does reduce the risk significantly in many cases. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the easier it is for the driver to lose control, and the less likely they are to stop in time to avoid a rear-end crash.
Brakes can fail, icy roads can reduce stoppage times, and a speeding car may not have enough time to adjust its speed. Speeding is never a good idea- even less so when driving behind a truck.
5: Avoid Truck No Zones
Most of the additional risks surrounding trucks are the larger blind spots. These are called no zones, and all road users need to know where they are and how to stay out of them.
Large trucks usually have four no zones- up to around 20 feet in front, a long distance behind (varies between trucks), and diagonally outward from each side (more so in the right lane). When driving in a truck's no zone, a small passenger vehicle becomes invisible to the truck driver.
Here are a few tips for staying clear of no zones.
Passing on the left side of the truck is much safer.
Don't linger beside a truck. Only pull out to pass when there is a clear run and space to move over if necessary.
Leave a greater distance in front and behind a large truck.
Anticipate trucks pulling out and have an exit route.
If the truck driver's face is not visible in the mirrors, they can't see you.
Who Is At Fault in a Rear-End Truck Accident?
Usually, the party that rear-ends another vehicle is to blame, but there are exceptions. When commercial trucks are involved, there are more elements to consider. can also help with more questions like What can you do to avoid head-on truck accidents in Indiana?
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Go to War for Indy Truck Accident Victims
Someone injured in a rear-end truck collision that was not their fault could be entitled to substantial compensation. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah fight for victims to claim back what they are owed and make the road to recovery that bit easier.
Contact the team today to arrange a free consultation.