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 How to Avoid Commercial Truck Accidents in New York City

Commercial truck accidents that involve large trucks are highly dangerous and very likely to result in death or permanent disability. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2017, of the 1,366 vehicles involved in fatal collisions in New York, 115 or 8.4% involved large trucks. The victims who have been injured in large commercial truck accidents suffer not just bodily damage but also significant economic losses with estimates putting the average expense of each victim at figures over $100,000.

Commercial Truck Accidents are Preventable

When one mentions a commercial truck, the term could be used to mean any truck of large size such as garbage trucks, delivery trucks, 18-wheelers, or semi tractor trailers.

The most common types of accidents involving commercial trucks include:

  • Unsecured load accidents
  • Rollover truck accidents
  • Tire blowout accidents
  • Jack knife truck accidents
  • Hazardous materials truck accidents
  • Under-ride truck accidents

All these accident types may be caused due to a combination of several different factors. However, it is a well-accepted fact that most of them are entirely preventable. Most accidents are a result of an error by either the truck driver or by the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash. Some of the common causes of commercial truck accidents in New York include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs which can drastically alter the driver’s reflexes and make them slow to register and react to road situations.
  • Distracted driving in which the driver isn’t focused on the road because they are talking or texting on their phone, or fiddling with the radio or eating or drinking while driving.
  • Falling asleep at the wheel due to driver fatigue brought on by unrealistic delivery schedules that do not figure in time for enough rest.
  • Speeding above the permitted limits in order to make sure the delivery deadlines are met.

In each of these cases, it is possible to prevent a crash if the concerned truck drivers take the necessary care to avoid the risky behavior.

How can Motor Vehicles Avoid a Truck Accident in NYC?

As the driver of a motor vehicle, it is possible to avoid getting into an accident that involves a commercial truck. When you share road space with a large truck, make sure you follow these guidelines to avoid a dangerous collision:

  • Keep away from the blind spots of the truck. The larger the truck, the bigger their blind spots and getting into one of these areas is sure to lead to a crash.
  • Signal early when passing a large truck. Make sure you give the truck driver a lot of time to notice your presence and understand that you intend to pass them. When actually passing by the truck, move as fast as possible to get out of the truck’s path.
  • Never approach a truck from the right side if you intend to pass it. Right side passing is illegal in many states and that’s because the trucks have a huge blind spot on this side that makes it difficult for the truck driver to see smaller vehicles in that area. If you want to pass a truck, always approach it from the left side only.
  • Be watchful of road conditions and time your pass carefully. Spots where the road makes a turn can be dangerous for passing because a car may easily be crushed between the median and the truck or any other vehicle.
  • Remember that large trucks cannot slow down let alone stop as soon as the brakes are applied. They need time to come to cut down speed or come to a stop. This means it can be dangerous to cut off a large truck expecting the truck driver to brake in time to avoid a collision.
  • Stay as far as possible from a truck that is turning on the road. Especially if the truck is long, it will require a lot of space to negotiate a turn that’s quite simple for a smaller vehicle. Avoid trying to pass a truck when it is turning and give the truck a lot of space to execute its turn.
  • Don’t drive too close to a large truck. This is even more critical when the road is wet with snow or rain. Trucks need more time to slow down or stop on normal roads; this becomes even trickier when the road is wet.
  • Notify the truck driver’s employer or the police if you notice a truck driver speeding or driving in a reckless manner that poses a danger to other vehicles on the road. Most large trucks have a number on the back with details of whom to notify. If that’s not available, call the police and give them details of the truck’s license plate number.

What can NY Commercial Truck Drivers do to Avoid Accidents?

In most cases of NYC truck accidents, driver error is often identified as the main reason for the crash. Here are some tips for the drivers of commercial trucks to avoid accidents in New York.

  • Always drive slowly and give yourself enough time to move carefully. Whether it is the actual drive on the road or pulling out of a drop yard or positioning your truck at the time of loading, move slowly and with your attention totally focused on whatever you are doing at that moment. Any accident caused due to speeding in any situation is categorized by insurance companies as a preventable accident and this can affect the processing of your insurance claim.
  • Be watchful of all areas around your truck. While the front of the truck is the easiest to observe, it is equally to be aware of what’s happening at the end of the truck and on both your sides. Be aware of your truck’s blind spots and take care to watch out for vehicles that appear to be entering those.
  • Get familiar with your destination by checking it up beforehand on your GPS and on a road map. If necessary, call the delivery destination and get directions from them so that you can match their instructions to what your map and GPS tell you. This can avoid confusion when you’re actually on the road where it may be difficult to change directions or maneuver your large truck at short notice.
  • When backing up the truck, take the time to get out yourself and observe your surroundings instead of relying only on the instructions of your spotter. Most times, spotters only watch the back end of the truck and they may miss activity on your truck’s right side at the front.

Truck Safety Technology to Reduce Commercial Truck Accidents

 

Several safety systems have been developed over the years and making use of these can help reduce the risk of a preventable truck accident. The most popular forms of truck safety systems are described below.

Speed Limiting Systems: These devices restrict the speed at which the truck can be driven to a pre-set level. Although there are truck carriers who oppose this measure, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes to make these speed limiters mandatory for commercial trucks heavier than 26,000 pounds.

Dual Facing Cameras: These cameras that record the traffic as well as the truck’s cab interior can help the trucking company to monitor the driving of their drivers and take action against errant drivers. In the event of an accident too, data from these cameras can help in accident reconstruction to find out who or what was responsible for the crash.

Forward Crash Avoidance Systems: These systems use a combination of radar and sensors to give out a warning when a collision is imminent with a vehicle in front of the truck. These systems can also be configured to spontaneously trigger the brakes after a threshold point to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision.

Get in Touch with an Experienced New York Truck Accident Attorney

Commercial truck accidents are far more dangerous than other passenger vehicle accidents. The medical injuries are far graver and may cause death or paralysis or amputation injuries or even a permanent disability. This makes it critical for the victims of such accidents to make sure they pursue their legal options to get the compensation they deserve for the losses they suffer.

In most truck accidents, it is not just one factor that is responsible for the mishap. Besides driver error, there may be other parties such as the trucking company or the truck maintenance company or even the road maintenance body who can be held liable for the accident. When you hire a competent and experienced New York commercial truck accident lawyer, they can help you build a strong case that makes sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Our firm works on a contingency fee basis for all personal injury law cases, which means that you do not have to pay us anything upfront until we obtain compensation for you. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a commercial truck accident in New York, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free case review.

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