You have likely heard about the horrific accident that happened shortly after the New Year on I-75 near Gainesville, Florida. Investigators still haven’t issued their final report, but it appears that a car and a semi-truck collided in the northbound lanes of I-75. The two vehicles then broke through a guardrail, crossed the median, and collided with another semi-truck and a church van loaded with children and headed for Disney World. As a result of diesel fuel spilled during the accident, the wreckage was consumed by a fire that burned so intensely it actually damaged the roadway. Tragically, 7 people were killed – 5 children and both truck drivers, with at least 8 others injured.
This accident is a sobering reminder of just how serious truck accidents can be. Reportedly occurring on a flat, straight stretch of I-75 in clear weather with good visibility, it raises the question of what you can do to avoid being involved in a similarly deadly accident.
Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents every year. The speed limit on most of I-75 is 70 miles per hour, and so you can assume that most vehicles are traveling closer to 80 miles per hour. At that speed, even a momentary distraction can have disastrous consequences. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on your driving. Here are some common distractions to avoid:
- Using a phone or other electronic devices
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Dealing with children or pets
- Talking with passengers
Be Aware of Blind Spots
Every vehicle has its blind spots, but the blind spots for a semi-truck are significantly larger. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the driver in his mirrors, he probably can’t see you. The blind spots on a semi-truck can extend into the left and right lanes, as well as to the front and rear of the truck. The Federal Department of Transportation has published a very helpful graphic that illustrates a truck’s blind spots.
Trucks Have a Longer Stopping Distance
Because trucks are larger and heavier, they need a much longer distance to stop. As a result, if you have to stop suddenly (perhaps because you are tailgating the vehicle in front of you), a truck following you may not be able to stop in time. Alternatively, be aware that if you’re following a truck too closely, you may not be able to avoid an accident if the truck is unable to stop.
Use Caution When Passing
Even on a multilane divided highway such as I-75, passing a truck can be extremely dangerous as a result of some of the factors identified above. While passing, you will be in the truck’s blind spot for a few seconds. The truck may not be able to stop in time or take evasive action in the event of a road hazard while you are alongside. When passing, stay alert and move past the truck as quickly as you can while still driving safely.
Contact a Georgia Truck Accident Attorney Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be wondering what to do next. An experienced truck accident attorney can help sort through the issues – who is at fault, what your damages are, and what your claim may be worth. The truck accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have been helping accident victims since 1992, and we have the experience you need in order to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 888-474-9616 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our truck accident attorneys today.