Young & McCarthy LLP

How to share the road with big rigs

Ohio residents know that sharing the road with big rigs can be difficult to do. Large trucks can sway into other lanes, swing wide when making turns and take much longer than vehicles to come to a stop. Cars that rear-end trucks can slide under, while trucks that rear-end cars can ride over them. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 68 percent of all truck crash fatalities in 2014 were car occupants.

In addition, trucks have numerous "no-zones" or blind spots. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that one-third of all crashes involving cars and trucks take place in these no-zones. Cars are also liable to be splashed by water, mud and snow when driving around trucks in bad weather, obscuring vision and increasing the risk for accidents.

In general, drivers can avoid accidents with the following tips. First, they should keep their distance from trucks when the latter are turning. When passing trucks, drivers should wait until they see the truck in their rear-view mirror to return to the lane.

Drivers are advised to never take chances; if a truck moves into their lane, they should not cut off the truck and brake in front of them. Another good rule is that if drivers cannot see the trucker's face in the truck's side-view mirror, the trucker cannot see them either.

When truckers are the ones to blame for a tractor-trailer crash, victims might opt to see a lawyer about filing a claim. Truck crashes usually result in catastrophic injuries that require long-term medical care; victims cannot file, though, until they have reached what's called maximum medical improvement. At the same time, they must file before the two-year statute of limitations expires. The lawyer may be able to negotiate for a settlement with the trucking company and prepare the case for a trial if one is not agreed upon.

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