Texas is a state with a lot of pride. Something we shouldn’t be proud of, though, is that we have more truck accident fatalities than almost any other state. Even worse, these numbers continue to increase over time, with more big truck accidents every year, and a car accident-related death every day for the past 22 years.
The state is working, though, to reduce these types of accidents. The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking to improve road safety and reduce fatalities through a new campaign boosting care safety awareness. Here are the most important things you need to know about avoiding big truck accidents in Texas — particularly in Pflugerville.
Understanding the Risks of Big Truck Accidents
There are several special reasons why Texas has so many big truck accidents and fatalities. Some of the unique challenges of truck driving in Texas include:
- High cargo and shipping volumes. Unlike states that move freight and cargo by boat or train, the vast majority of cargo in Texas is transported by truck. This means that there are simply more trucks on the roads and highways of Texas than in many other states.
- Inadequate driving conditions. Increases in energy production in Texas have caused increases in traffic and heavy trucks, often in rural areas with inadequate roads. Energy-producing regions demand high levels of incoming traffic of workers and equipment, along with high truck volume to transport products to market. Nearly half of all traffic fatalities in Texas take place in the five largest oil and gas producing regions, on county roads that were built for lighter traffic.
- Bottlenecks and congestion. Of the top 100 truck bottleneck regions in the US, 13 of them are in Texas. These areas with high big truck congestion cause increased traffic and reduced road safety, and are another potential reason for accidents.
In addition, big trucks in Texas have all the other safety concerns that cause truck accidents anywhere, including slow braking and long stopping distance, blind spots, and other risk factors for accidents. If you’ve been involved in an accident, it is important to consult with a big truck accident lawyer to protect your rights.
Tips for Sharing the Road with Big Trucks
While truck drivers have a special responsibility to drive safely, avoiding accidents on the road is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone needs to follow the basic rules of the road, including:
- Drive defensively. Driving defensively means maintaining awareness of the road, weather, and traffic conditions. You may need to drive more slowly, allow more following distance, or take other steps to maintain safe driving in the current situation.
- Obey the speed limit. Speeding is the #1 cause of car accidents in Texas.
- Never drive under the influence. DUI remains a frequent cause of accidents, although it is avoidable and illegal.
- Avoid distractions. Distracted driving is another frequent cause of accidents. Drivers may be distracted by a phone or device, eating, or other activities that aren’t related to driving. Keep your mind and your eyes on the road.
In addition to basic safe driving practices, it is important to adopt special safe driving guidelines when you are sharing the road with big trucks. When driving near a big truck:
- Give a big truck extra space on the road. Leave 20-25 car lengths or 4 seconds distance between yourself and a big truck. Never cut off a big truck, and don’t follow too closely. Allow trucks extra stopping distance and extra room for lane changes.
- Don’t drive in a truck’s blind spot. Whenever possible, stay in view of a truck’s side mirrors so the driver can see you. Giving trucks extra room on the road also helps you avoid their blind spots.
- Pay extra attention to signals. Because a truck can block your view of the road ahead, pay extra attention to their signals and speed changes.
- Tap your brakes. When driving in front of a truck, don’t brake suddenly. The long stopping distance of a truck may lead to a rear-end collision. Instead, tap your brakes a few times to let the driver know that you intend to slow down.
Unfortunately, even when you are driving carefully and obeying the rules of the road, big truck accidents may still occur. You may be entitled to recovery of your medical costs, property damage, lost wages, and other damages you suffered in the accident.
How Can Pastrana & García Injury Law Help?
If you’ve been involved in a big truck accident in Pflugerville, the truck driver or the truck driver’s employer may be liable for your damages. You need to speak with a big truck accident attorney who will treat you with respect and compassion and has the experience to fight for you.
The experts at Pastrana & García Injury Law have been serving Texas for over thirty years, and don’t charge a fee unless they win you compensation in your case. Contact us for a free consultation about your big truck accident today.