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An Accident With A Big Rig Can Cause Big Trouble

Tractor trailers, semi-trucks, or flatbeds are sometimes called big rigs because they are the biggest vehicles that travel down the highway. They can also be the scariest ones to encounter. Motor vehicle crashes involving this type of vehicle can lead to serious injury or death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were 4,311 large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes in 2015. This is an 8 percent increase from 2014, showing how it continues to grow.

The Dangerous Truth About Trucks

Accidents with trucks can be dangerous due to many factors. They are big, they have a lot of power, and they can’t stop in a dime like a passenger vehicle can. Road conditions from weather to construction can affect their controllability. Even if a driver is wide awake and concentrating on the task of driving, an accident with a truck can cause more damage than one with a passenger car simply because:

• Tractor trailers and flatbed trucks can weigh more than 40 tons compared to passenger cars and smaller trucks that average about 2.5 tons.

• Due to their larger size, tractor trailers have limited visual capability and have more blind spots than a car. Seeing what is traveling beside them on the right is a big challenge because the blind spot on that side is very large.

• The large tires and height of the deck of the trailer can pose serious threats to passenger cars, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. A car who rear-ends a truck might slide right underneath the back.

• Because of their size and weight, large trucks cannot stop quickly when they see a commotion in front of them. It takes up to 40 percent further for a truck to stop as opposed to a passenger vehicle.

The Unfortunate Truth About Driver Negligence

Though tractor trailer drivers must get a special license and complete a required number of training hours, they are still human. Unfortunately, driver negligence can play a large role in tractor trailer accidents.

• Driver fatigue is a well-known crash risk. Under federal regulations, Drivers are allowed to be on the road for up to 11 hours at a stretch, but some will work even longer to get better pay.

• Those who must make long runs under tight deadline requirements can operate these vehicles whether they’re tired or ill, and this can lead to impaired judgment.

• One of the most common causes of accidents involving semi-trucks is distracted driving. Activities such as eating, cellphone usage, typing into a GPS, or talking to passengers can lead to trouble.

Driver negligence can cause permanent injury, continued mental trauma, and loss of life.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Not all accidents are avoidable, but taking steps to give tractor trailers their space can help you lessen your crash risk and keep you and your family safe.

• When approaching a tractor trailer on a highway, pass on the left and maintain a consistent speed until you are farther away from them. If they are coming up behind you, move to the right lane and let them pass.

• If you must travel close to a big truck, such as in heavy traffic, do your best to stay out of blind spots and give the truck as much room as you can.

• Large trucks can unintentionally splash mud, water, or snow onto the windshield of a passing car, which can obstruct your vision. Stay clear of them when the weather is poor.

• At an intersection, don’t pull to the right side of a truck who is making a right hand turn. Due to their size, they make wider turns than a car does.

Recovering Your Health And Your Losses

Due to the potential to cause serious injuries, fatalities, and property damage, commercial trucks are required to carry high levels of insurance. Though it won’t do anything to heal irreversible damage to a spinal cord, or bring back a loved one back to life, it can assist with:

• Paying outrageous medical bills and continued treatment

• Covering time lost from work, including future lost wages

• Helping to pay for daily living expenses while you recover

• Relieving your family from financial burden caused by the accident

If your car crashes into a large truck, chances are high that the truck will sustain only minor damage, while your car will be a total loss. The truck driver will walk away, while you could face years of physical therapy. Take all precautions to avoid tractor trailer accidents whenever you can, but when an accident happens, don’t let the negligence of a tractor trailer driver turn your life upside down. Contact an experienced attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.


Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.

An Accident With A Big Rig Can Cause Big Trouble

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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