Towed Trailers Causing Crashes On Florida Roads Are A Big Problem For Drivers & Pedestrians
Whether behind a pickup truck on Clark Road in Sarasota, or behind an 18-wheeler on US 301 in Bradenton, towing a trailer behind a vehicle can be a convenient way to transport large items, but it can also be dangerous, especially when it comes to pedestrian safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, 6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, with 17% of those fatalities involving large trucks or buses. While not all of these fatalities involved vehicles towing trailers, it is clear that the danger to pedestrians is significant.
One organization that is working to raise awareness about the dangers of towing trailers is Dangerous Trailers. Founded in 2008, Dangerous Trailers is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting trailer safety and preventing accidents. According to the organization's website, "Our mission is to educate the public and lawmakers about the dangers of poorly designed and maintained trailers, and to advocate for stronger safety regulations."
One of the primary dangers of towing a trailer is that it can make it more difficult for the driver to see pedestrians, especially if the trailer is large or obstructs the driver's view. In addition, trailers can be unstable, particularly when they are overloaded or improperly loaded. This can cause the trailer to sway or even jackknife, which can result in a collision with a pedestrian.
According to Dangerous Trailers, many trailers on the road are not properly maintained or are poorly designed, which increases the risk of accidents. The organization points out that trailers that are not equipped with brakes or that have inadequate lighting can pose a significant danger to pedestrians and other drivers.
To illustrate the danger of towing trailers, Dangerous Trailers provides several examples of accidents that have occurred in recent years. For example, in 2017, a pedestrian was killed in Virginia when a trailer being towed by a pickup truck came loose and struck her. In another incident, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a trailer being towed by a tractor-trailer in Indiana in 2019.
There are several dangers associated with a passenger vehicle towing a trailer, which include:
Reduced Visibility: When a vehicle is towing a trailer, the driver's visibility can be significantly reduced. The trailer may obstruct the driver's view, making it difficult to see pedestrians, other vehicles, or obstacles on the road.
Increased Stopping Distance: Towing a trailer can significantly increase the stopping distance of a vehicle. The added weight and length of the trailer make it harder for the vehicle to stop quickly, which can be particularly dangerous in emergency situations.
Trailer Sway: Trailers can sway from side to side, especially at high speeds or when turning, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. This can be particularly dangerous if the driver is towing a heavy or improperly loaded trailer.
Overloading: Overloading a trailer can increase the risk of a trailer coming loose or losing control, which can cause an accident. Overloading can also cause excessive wear and tear on the vehicle, leading to mechanical failures.
Trailer Disconnect: If a trailer is not correctly secured to the vehicle, it can come loose while driving, causing a serious accident.
Inadequate Lighting: Trailers may not have adequate lighting, making it difficult for other drivers to see the vehicle and anticipate its movements. This can increase the risk of collisions, particularly at night or in poor weather conditions.
To prevent accidents involving trailers and pedestrians, it is important for drivers to be aware of the risks and to take steps to minimize them. This includes ensuring that the trailer is properly maintained, properly loaded, and equipped with adequate safety features such as brakes and lighting. In addition, drivers should be aware of the limitations of their vehicles and trailer and should drive at a safe speed, especially in areas where pedestrians are present.
If you have been involved in a crash with a trailer anywhere on Florida's Suncoast contact the truck accident lawyers of Goldman Babboni Fernandez Murphy & Walsh today. Our attorneys have more than 150 years of injury law experience and have won over $500 million dollars for clients. Call today at (941) 954-1234 for your free case review.
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