The Consequences of a Truck Accident
We are all aware of just how large and heavy a commercial truck can be. A truck carrying cargo weighs about 25 times more than the average passenger vehicle. When a car makes contact with a commercial truck, the likelihood of the car driver sustaining life-threatening injuries is far greater. Although truck accidents usually result in the passenger vehicle occupants receiving severe injuries, there is the possibility of truck driver losing their lives while on the job.
If you or your loved one were involved in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, you have the right to compensation. The truck accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have an extensive history of recovering the maximum amount of damages for their clients involved in trucking accidents. Your lawyer will work diligently to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future lost wages if your injuries are ongoing or permanent. Call today for a free consultation with a nationally recognized truck accident attorney.
How Dangerous Can Truck Driving Be?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly finds truck driving is one of the top 1o of most dangerous jobs in the United States. Not only is driving a large vehicle dangerous because of the risk of getting into an accident, but truck drivers face numerous health problems. Since truck driving is a sedentary job, truck drivers spend long hours of times sitting behind the wheel and suffer from lack of sleep because of their irregular schedule.
Contributing factors that could affect the health of a truck driver include:
- Loading and unloading heavy cargo
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals that they may be hauling
- Exposure to diesel fumes, causing respiratory issues
- Extreme fatigue, leading to a dependence on stimulants
These problems, of course, do not include the inherent danger of operating a heavy truck that weighs more than 80,000 pounds. The leading cause of work-related fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is transportation accidents. Consider the fact that there are many risks for truck drivers on the road, including construction zones, careless drivers, bad weather, and other emergency scenarios.
How Can Negligent Truck Driving Endanger Other Drivers?
Even though most cars are equipped with a crumple zone, being involved in any type of accident with a commercial truck can have catastrophic effects on the passengers in a car. Common types of truck accidents in Pennsylvania are:
Jackknife Accidents: This type of accident occurs with tractor trailers. It is when the tractor swings so that it is perpendicular to the trailer. When this happens, it looks like a jackknife that is being opened. These accidents happen when the truck driver tries to stop too suddenly or brakes improperly.
Sideswipe Accidents: These accidents occur when the side of a truck makes contact with a vehicle driving next to it. Many times the truck driver doesn’t see the other vehicle in his blind spot, or fails to yield while merging onto the highway.
Rollover Accidents: These accidents happen when the truck or trailer of the truck rolls over causing a hazard on the road for oncoming vehicles. Many factors can lead to a truck rolling over, including the trucker taking a curve at a high speed, or when cargo is improperly distributed in the trailer.
Cargo Spills: These accidents occur when cargo isn’t secured properly and falls off the truck onto other vehicles or onto the road, creating a hazard for other travelers.
Night-Time Truck Accidents: Night-time driving is more dangerous for any driver due to poor visibility, glaring lights, and fatigue. A nighttime truck accident occurs mostly when the truck driver does not follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations and drives more than 14 consecutive hours. Driver fatigue slows reaction time and increases the likelihood of a nighttime truck accident.
What are Common Injuries from Truck Accidents?
Victims can suffer injuries from any accident, whether it is a fender bender or a major collision with a tractor trailer. Bruising, whiplash, broken bones, internal bleeding, neck and back injuries, and PTSD are just a few examples of what a victim of an accident can sustain. However, because of the major difference between the size of a commercial truck and a regular car, truck accident victims often suffer traumatic brian injuries when involved in a truck wreck.
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. Symptoms can be as mild as a headache, some confusion, or lightheadedness. Dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, and trouble with memory may also occur and linger for a few weeks. A severe TBI, however, can alter a person’s life and take years to recover, if recovery is possible at all. Severe traumatic brain injuries can result in convulsions, seizures, or coma. Victims can also experience weakness in extremities, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and confusion.
The Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys tractor trailer accident lawyers have a profound understanding of what traumatic brain injuries do to truck accident victims and their families. If you or your loved one sustained a TBI as a result of a truck accident in Pennsylvania, contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today.
How Can I Prevent a Truck Accident in Pennsylvania?
While you can’t control what others do on the road, you can always control how you drive and your reaction to other drivers. No one can ensure safety all the time, but defensive driving, while remembering the following guidelines, will make you as safe as possible while you’re traveling to your destination:
- Don’t hang out in the No-Zone: If you can’t see the truck driver in the truck’s sideview mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you. If you follow the truck too closely from behind, the truck driver will not be able to see your vehicle in his rearview mirror. These three points – the right and left side of the truck and directly behind the truck, are what the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation calls the No-Zone. When passing a truck, always pass on the driver’s side and never stay next to the truck for long. Find a safe way to pass and create distance.
- Create space: The larger the vehicle, the more time it takes to slow down. If you don’t leave enough space between your car and the semi truck behind you, you run the risk of being hit from behind. In the same way, if you are driving too closely behind a commercial vehicle or tractor trailer, debris from the truck’s cargo or from a tire blowout could hit your windshield. A general rule to follow is to leave at least four seconds between you and the truck. For example, if the truck passes an exit sign, you should be able to count to at least four before you pass the same exit sign.
- Changing lanes/merging: This is an extension of the “create space” rule. If you cannot change lanes or merge onto a highway without keeping a healthy distance from a truck, then stay where you are. This is especially necessary if traffic is slowing down ahead. Be sure to use clear signaling while changing lanes and merging.
- Stay calm: Road rage can be deadly. Avoid aggressive driving and be mindful of how you react towards aggressive drivers. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so you do not feel rushed. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and remember, everyone is doing exactly what you’re doing – just trying to get to their destination as safely as possible.
- Buckle up and pay attention: Always wear your seatbelt and insist that any passengers in your car do the same. It could be the difference of life and death in a truck accident. Your entire focus should be on the task at hand – driving. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by your phone, radio, or passengers.
If you witness unsafe driving by a truck driver in the state of Pennsylvania, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to hear about it. Contact them at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238).
How Can Truck Drivers Stay Safe While on the Road?
The FCSA offers these tips to truck drivers to stay safe while on the road:
- Check your blind spots. You’ll want to check your mirrors every eight to 10 seconds and scan ahead on the road after 15 seconds. This will keep you alert for any changing traffic patterns or upcoming work zones.
- Slow down. Trucks need the length of two football fields to safely come to a stop. But if you’re driving too fast, it can be difficult to stop or slow down if there’s a problem up ahead.
- Make wide turns carefully. Trucks need extra time and space to make a wide turn. Make sure there’s no one near your vehicle and don’t forget to turn on the turn signal.
- Buckle up. Not only is wearing your seat belt protecting you in the event of a crash, but it’s the law.
- Stay focused. It can be difficult to keep your eyes on the road, especially if you’ve been driving for several hours. But you need to avoid distractions. Try to get as much sleep as you can and avoid texting and driving.
- Maintain your vehicle. Always check the truck before hitting the road, especially the tires and the brakes. Make sure the load is well-balanced and secure.
- Practice work zone safety. If you are coming up to a work zone, go slowly and maintain extra following space. Keep alert for any changing traffic patterns and especially watch out for the construction workers.
If You Were Involved in a Truck Accident, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is Here to Help
Truck accidents are often scary and can cause severe injuries and massive damage. If you were involved in a truck accident, there is help in getting compensation for your injuries. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has been helping trucking accident victims throughout the U.S. for more than 60 years. We understand the difficulties you may be facing and we’re prepared to fight for your rights. Contact a truck accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.