Staying Safe On The Road With Semi-Trucks Tractor-Trailers In Sarasota, Florida
A semi-tractor trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. This is over 30 times heavier than the weight of a car, this massive amount of weight is a terrifying force if involved in a car crash. Any collision with a smaller vehicle can do massive damage and lead to serious injury or death. If you are driving or riding in a car and you get into an accident with a Semi, you are far more likely to be severely injured or killed than if the accident involved another car.
As our area has grown in population substantially, Sarasota has seen a significant increase in semi-truck traffic on its streets like Bee Ridge, roads like Tamiami Trail and especially on Interstate-75. Sharing the road with these large vehicles can be intimidating and dangerous if not approached with caution.
We will discuss the risks associated with driving near a semi-truck in Sarasota and also give you important information about what to do if you are injured in an accident with a semi here in Sarasota, Florida.
Each year in Florida, many Semi and heavy commercial trucks get into accidents. Always be aware of the danger heavy trucks create for drivers and use defensive driving techniques; you can reduce your chances of getting into a serious semi accident on the roads in Florida.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large trucks were involved in 4,119 fatal crashes in the US in 2019, and 67% of the people who died in those crashes were occupants of other vehicles. Areas in Sarasota like the interchange at I-75 and University Parkway, or along Tamiami Trail and Bee Ridge Road, can be especially dangerous, with a mix of local drivers and a lot of heavy trucks in close proximity.
These statistics make it clear that driving around semi tractor trailers, and other heavy commercial vehicles such as dump trucks or cement trucks can be extremely dangerous, especially on highways where they are more prevalent.
How to drive safely around large tractor trailers on highways in Sarasota, Florida.
Maintain a safe following distance on Interstate I-75
One of the most important things to remember when driving around large semis is to maintain a safe following distance. The NHTSA recommends a following distance of at least six seconds, which gives you enough time to react if the truck suddenly slows down or stops. In addition, staying a safe distance behind the truck can help reduce the risk of a rear-end collision, which is a common type of accident involving large trucks. This main highway serves as a crucial link for semi-trucks traveling to and from the city, as it connects to other major Florida highways. It also connects I-75 with Fruitville road, which sees a high volume of traffic for the Sarasota area.
Avoid blind spots
Large semis have significant blind spots, also known as "no-zones," where the truck driver cannot see other vehicles. The NHTSA recommends avoiding these blind spots by staying either well behind the truck or passing it quickly on the left. If you must pass a truck on the right, make sure you do so quickly and get back into the left lane as soon as possible. The industrial area of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is a place where there is a high volume of semi- truck traffic frequents this area. Be careful of semis in this location of Sarasota.
Another important tip when driving around large semis is to make sure you stay visible to the truck driver. This means keeping your headlights on, using turn signals well in advance, and avoiding sudden lane changes or maneuvers. Remember that truck drivers have a limited field of vision, so it's essential to make your presence known.
Pass with caution
If you need to pass a large semi on the highway, make sure you do so with caution. The NHTSA recommends waiting until you can see both headlights of the truck in your rearview mirror before moving back into the right lane. This ensures that you have plenty of clearance and reduces the risk of a collision. Due to their large size, semis can take longer to stop than smaller vehicles. This can be particularly hazardous on busy roads like interstate-75, where sudden braking can lead to a rear-end collision.
What To Watch Out For When Driving Near Tractor Trailers
Semi-trucks are prone to tire blowouts, which can cause them to lose control and create dangerous situations for nearby drivers. Highways such as I-75 and busy streets like Fruitville Road can be particularly hazardous in the event of a tire blowout.
Watch for merging trucks
Large trucks often need more time and space to merge onto the highway, so it's important to watch for them when entering or exiting the highway. Be prepared to slow down or move over to give the truck driver room to merge safely. In areas such as downtown Sarasota or the congested sections of Tamiami Trail, drivers must be cautious when approaching intersections, as semi-trucks may need to complete wide turns and merge onto roadways.
Avoid Distractions When Driving Near Heavy Trucks
Finally, it's essential to avoid distractions when driving around large commercial trucks and 18-wheelers. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents involving all types of vehicles, and it's especially dangerous when driving around large trucks. Make sure you keep your focus on the road and avoid using your phone, eating, or doing anything else that could take your attention away from driving.
In addition to these tips, there are several other things you can do to stay safe when driving around large semis on the highway in Sarasota, Florida. Here are some additional suggestions:
Large trucks often move more slowly than other vehicles, especially when going uphill or in heavy traffic. It's important to be patient and avoid making risky maneuvers to get around them.
Watch for turning trucks
Large trucks have a wide turning radius and may need to swing out into the adjacent lane to make a turn. Make sure you give them plenty of room and avoid passing them on the right when they are turning left.
Check your brakes
Make sure your brakes are in good working order before driving on the highway. This will help ensure that you can stop quickly if needed.
When driving around large semis on the highway in Sarasota, Florida, can be dangerous, but there are several things you can do to stay safe. By maintaining a safe following distance, avoiding blind spots, staying visible, passing with caution, watching for merging trucks, avoiding distractions, being patient, watching for turning trucks, and checking your brakes, you can reduce your risk of being involved in an accident with a large semi.
What To Do If You Are Involved In A Semi-Accident In Sarasota, Florida
In the aftermath of an accident, your first priority should be your safety and the safety of others involved. If possible, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and turn on your hazard lights (2). Keep a safe distance from the semi-truck as it may pose additional hazards, such as fuel leaks or cargo shifts.
Contact emergency services by calling 911, even if the accident seems minor. It's essential to have the police document the scene and obtain a police report, which will be useful later for insurance claims and potential legal action.
Seek Medical Attention
Don't underestimate the potential injuries you may have sustained. Even if you feel fine, it's essential to receive a thorough medical evaluation. Some injuries, such as whiplash or concussions, may not present symptoms immediately. Make sure to keep records of all medical treatments and expenses.
While at the scene, collect as much information as possible, including:
• The semi-truck's license plate number, USDOT number, and company name
• The truck driver's name, contact information, and insurance details
• Contact information of witnesses
• Photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries
Contact a Sarasota Truck Accident Attorney
Semi-truck accidents often involve complex legal matters due to multiple parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and their insurers. A skilled Sarasota accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can help navigate these complexities and ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries and damages.
Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system. However, if you suffer severe injuries, you may be eligible to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver or the trucking company. A local accident attorney will have a deep understanding of Florida's specific laws and regulations and will be able to provide guidance on the best course of action.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide all the information you gathered at the scene and any additional documentation, such as medical records and the police report. Be cautious when speaking with the trucking company's insurance representatives, as their priority is to protect their interests, not yours.
Being involved in an accident with a semi-truck can be a traumatic experience. By following these steps and enlisting the help of a knowledgeable Sarasota accident attorney, you can protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
The experienced Semi truck accident attorney lawyers at Goldman, Babboni, Fernendez, Murphy & Walsh have helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Sarasota and southwest Florida get the financial compensation they deserve for their injury-related expenses, losses and suffering. We have the experience, knowledge, resources, and dedication to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a semi, call us today at (941) 954-1234 so we can protect your rights and get started working on your case.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2019). Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2019.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. (n.d.). Crash Safety.