Because of the increased number of drivers around Christmas, getting into a holiday truck accident is more common than you might think. When you see a huge truck on the same highway on which you’re traveling, it’s understandable to get a little concerned. You have no idea whether the driver or the company that owns the truck has followed federal regulations designed to improve safety. You also don’t know if the truck driver has been drinking alcohol, is using their phone, or is committing some other type of negligent act.
If you’ve been injured in a holiday truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you should get in touch with Penn Kestner & McEwen as soon as possible. We’ll work to determine which parties are to blame and then set out to help you obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free evaluation of your case, you can give us a call at (800) 732-3070 or use our online contact form.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid this type of accident, here are a few tips to help ensure things stay that way throughout the holiday season.
Truck Accidents Increase Around the Holidays
It only follows logically that there would be more accidents involving trucks during the holidays since there are more of these huge trucks on the roads of the nation. In fact, more than 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019 occurred between November and January.
Truck drivers are always under an incredible amount of pressure to meet deadlines. That pressure only gets worse during the holiday season. They have more deliveries to make, so they’re going to do whatever they can in order to get the job done. This often means trying to stay behind the wheel even though they’re incredibly tired. Driving while fatigued, of course, is a surefire way to cause a devastating accident.
Practice Defensive Driving
So, what can you do to try and keep from being a terrible statistic? One of the things you should keep in mind is to always – always – be totally aware of your surroundings. This is true whether you’re on a city street or driving at a much higher rate of speed on an interstate highway.
When you know you’re near a truck, don’t ever panic. At the same time, however, be very aware that it’s close to your car. Again, you don’t know if the truck is in good operating condition or what’s going on with the driver. Make sure you leave plenty of room between you and the truck, just in case something unexpected happens. If the trucker wants to pass you, get in the far right lane and let them do so. The farther away that truck gets, the safer you will be.
Don’t Drive During an Active Storm
As beautiful as winter weather can be, it can also be extremely dangerous. It’s hard enough trying to navigate the road when a snow or ice storm comes out of nowhere. When there are trucks on the road as well, it can be virtually impossible.
If a storm is in progress, just stay where you are. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at home or at work. The risks of trying to drive in snow, ice, or both are far too high. If you have simply no choice but to be out, slow down, turn on your hazards and lights, and stay calm. Pull over to the side of the road if you can’t see.
Watch the Weather Forecast
The best way to avoid being caught in a storm is to plan ahead. You should always pay attention to the weather, but this is even more important during the winter season. If you know in advance that a snow or ice storm is coming, then you can make whatever plans are necessary. Try to get in your Christmas shopping beforehand, or try to make arrangements to work from home if that’s an option. If the trip isn’t that important, just postpone it until it’s once again safe to drive.
Be Aware of a Truck’s Blind Spots and Keep a Safe Following Distance
Just like a truck is a lot larger than a car, its blind spots are larger as well. This makes them even more dangerous to be around when you’re driving. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can’t see the face of the truck driver when looking at the vehicle’s side-view mirror, that driver can’t see you, either. Don’t try to pass a truck unless you’re 100% percent certain you’re not in the blind spot.
Give Snowplows a Wide Berth
If you’re near a snowplow, that’s obviously not a good sign. It means the roads are already extremely dangerous. Stay far behind the snowplow because the snow blowing from behind the vehicle will make it impossible for you to see. Also, staying behind the plow will ensure that it has plenty of room to turn.
Don’t Drive While Distracted or Drunk
This should go without saying. If you’re texting or talking on your phone, or you’ve had a few at a holiday party, you’re not going to be able to react quickly enough if something unexpected happens with the truck. The driver could try to make a lane change, and you could be in the aforementioned blind spot. If you’re going to drink alcohol, have a designated driver or call a rideshare or taxi.
Steps to Take if You’re Involved in a Holiday Truck Accident
If you’re in a truck accident, the first priority, of course, will be to call for medical help. You should consider taking pictures of the accident scene, but only if it’s completely safe to do so and your physical condition allows. Once you’re safe, contact an attorney immediately so that an investigation into the accident can begin.
Contact Penn Kestner & McEwen to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation After a Holiday Truck Accident
The attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen have the resources needed to perform that detailed investigation. We’ll be able to determine if the truck driver’s negligence led to the accident or if some other party was responsible.