If you are driving or riding in a car and you get into an accident with a tractor trailer, you are far more likely to be severely injured or killed than if the accident involved another car. That’s because a tractor trailer can be as much as 30 times heavier than a car. The massive size and weight of a large commercial truck can do terrible damage when it collides with a smaller vehicle. For this reason, it is important to be extra careful when you are driving near a tractor trailer.
Every year in Florida, nearly 30,000 tractor trailers and other large trucks get into accidents. By being aware of the danger and using some defensive driving techniques, you can reduce your chances of getting into a serious tractor trailer accident on Florida’s roads.
In this blog post, we will discuss some things you can do to try to stay safe on the roads in and around Tampa and throughout Florida. We will also discuss what to do if you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a large tractor trailer because, unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, accidents can still occur.
How to Stay Safe When Driving Near Tractor Trailers on Tampa’s Roads
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) points out that all drivers, riders and pedestrians share the responsibility for safety on our streets and roads, but that driving, cycling or walking around large trucks requires extra caution. Being aware of the precautions you can take can help you avoid devastating accidents with tractor trailers on Tampa’s roads and highways.
Avoid driving close to tractor trailers whenever possible.
There are many reasons to keep your distance from tractor trailers whenever possible:
- Tractor trailers have a higher center of gravity than cars and are more likely to roll over. Large trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times what a car weighs, so if one rolls over on your vehicle, it will crush the vehicle and those riding inside. Often you cannot avoid driving alongside a large truck, but, if possible, getting well in front of a truck or staying well behind it is a good idea.
- Large trucks can create wind gusts that push smaller vehicles around. If you get caught in one of these gusts, your vehicle could get pushed off the road or into another traffic lane and hit by other vehicles.
- Tractor trailers have long stopping distances. It can take them the equivalent of the length of two football fields to come to a stop. If you are too close to a truck that is behind you and you have to stop unexpectedly, the truck may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting you and causing devastating damage.
- Large trucks make wide turns. Driving too close to a truck can put you right in their path when they go around a curve or make a turn.
- A small car can slide under a large commercial truck, especially if the road is wet. Cars can also get pushed or pulled under trucks if they are riding too close to them.
Be careful if you have to pass a tractor trailer and try to stay out of their blind spots.
Tractor trailer drivers have blind spots and may not see you if you are riding beside them. The best advice is to not ride next to a tractor trailer truck because the driver may not know you are there and crash into you when trying to change lanes. If you must pass a large truck, experts advise trying to make sure you have room to pass safely on the left and then doing so as quickly and cautiously as possible.
Distracted driving is a major cause of all types of highway accidents. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people were killed in a single recent year due to distracted driving. It goes without saying, then, that avoiding distractions is especially important when you are driving near a tractor trailer.
Texting on a cell phone while driving is a common cause of accidents, but there are other distractions that also cause accidents, including rummaging for something in the glove box, bending down to pick up something you dropped, reaching for something in the back seat, or getting distracted by the scenery or passengers in the vehicle.
Making sure you are alert, aware of your surroundings and focused on your driving is always good advice for drivers, but it is especially important when you are driving on roads and highways with heavy truck traffic. Given that trucks cannot stop as quickly as cars, have blind spots, make wide turns and can roll over more readily than smaller vehicles, it is important that drivers who share the roads with them avoid distractions and stay focused on their driving.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Tractor Trailer Accident
If you are involved in a crash with a tractor trailer, you will most likely need immediate medical attention. Even if you do not think your injuries are serious, it’s important to get a thorough examination. Internal injuries or head injuries may not be immediately obvious, but could cause serious problems and even be life-threatening if not treated.
The trucking company and their insurance company will immediately investigate the scene of the accident and contact you. It is in your best interest not to talk with them, because anything you say about the accident or your physical condition could be used to try to avoid paying you the amount you deserve for your injuries. Contacting knowledgeable, experienced Tampa tractor trailer accident attorneys as soon as possible will help protect your legal rights and hold the at-fault parties responsible for the damages their negligence caused.
Why File a Lawsuit in Tampa for Your Tractor Trailer Accident Injuries
If you are seriously hurt in a crash with a tractor trailer, Florida law gives you the right to sue any at-fault parties to hold them financially responsible for your injuries. A party is at fault if they were negligent, meaning they failed to do what they were supposed to do to ensure that the tractor trailer was being driven with reasonable care for safety. A negligent party can be a driver who drives in an unsafe manner. It can also be the company that owns the tractor trailer, the companies that manufactured the tractor trailer or its parts, and the companies responsible for maintenance and repairs.
You can hold the parties responsible for the accident responsible by filing a claim against them for damages. These damages can be both economic, as in medical expenses and lost income, and non-economic, as in pain and suffering.
In general, If you have serious injuries from a tractor trailer accident in Tampa or anywhere in Florida, you may be able to receive substantial financial compensation for the damages you have suffered, including:
- Expenses for current and future medical treatments, including doctor visits, hospital procedures, medication, assistive devices and rehabilitative care
- Income lost due to time off work
- Diminished earning capacity
- Scarring, disfigurement, and/or disabilities
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental distress
- Losses experienced by your family because of your injuries
- Diminished capacity to enjoy life
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law
If you lost a family member in a tractor trailer crash, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for similar damages.
Get Help Today from a Tampa Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer
The experienced Tampa tractor trailer accident lawyers at Dennis Hernandez have helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Florida get the substantial 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 a tractor trailer accident, call us at 855-520-3366 or submit the FREE CASE EVALUATION for on this page as soon as possible so we can protect your rights and get started working on your case. All consultations, advice and legal services are FREE until we win your case.