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How to safely share New York’s roads with tractor-trailers

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Trucking accidents involving other vehicles commonly result in serious injuries, but there are steps drivers can take to help prevent such crashes.

Every day, people in New York, and throughout the U.S., share the roads with large commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, delivery trucks and buses. Unfortunately, collisions commonly occur involving these large vehicles and smaller automobiles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2013 alone, about 327,000 trucking accidents were reported to law enforcement agencies. Often, such crashes result in
serious injuries, or death for the occupants of the other vehicles. By taking steps to share the road safely, however, drivers may reduce their risk of being involved in a crash with a semitrailer.

Stay out of no zones

Tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles have large blind spots, which are known as no zones. While other, smaller vehicles also have blind spots, or areas where the drivers cannot see other vehicles or objects, these so-called no zones are much larger for commercial vehicles. If truckers cannot see their vehicles, they may not give drivers warning that they intend to stop, change lanes or turn. As such, it is advisable for motorists to position their vehicles where they can be seen, and avoid driving for extended periods of time in tractor-trailers’ no zones.

Remember commercial trucks handle differently

Most people who have not driven a large commercial vehicle assume they operate similar to other, smaller vehicles. That is not the case, however. It can be more difficult for people to steer, maneuver and turn tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles. Additionally, it generally takes longer to stop commercial trucks than it does to stop smaller cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles.

In order to avoid
semi truck collisions, it is important for people to give truckers ample room to maneuver their vehicles. Drivers should also avoid cutting in front of commercial vehicles. If they do so, and then must suddenly slow down or stop, it may not allow a trucker enough time to stop or maneuver around them. Furthermore, swerving or braking suddenly to avoid a collision may still result in a serious accident. According to the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, this is because doing so could cause the vehicle’s load to dangerously shift.

Be patient when passing

It is a simple fact that, in general, it takes longer to pass a large commercial vehicle than it does to pass smaller passenger vehicles. As such, it is important for people to make sure there is plenty of clear road in front of them before attempting to pass a tractor-trailer, or other commercial vehicle. Rushing this type of maneuver may result in drivers not having the time or space to respond to road hazards. It could also lead to a rear-end collision if they cut in front of a semitrailer and are forced to unexpectedly slow down or stop.

Working with an attorney

Even when New York drivers use caution, they may still be involved in a trucking accident. Such collisions may result in serious injuries, which could lead to undue medical expenses and lost income. Depending on the circumstances, however, the trucker or trucking company may be held financially liable for the resulting damages. As such, those who have been injured in tractor-trailer accidents may benefit from consulting with an attorney. The attorneys at O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP will work diligently on behalf of anyone injured in a truck accident to ensure his or her interests are protected.

Victor Greco

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A Senior Trial Lawyer, and partner at O'Dwyer & Benstien Law Firm, Victor has won verdicts and settlements valued over millions of dollars on behalf of his personal injury clients.