Trucks are a common sight on the roads in Seattle, and it’s important for drivers to know how to share the road safely with them. Trucks are larger and heavier than passenger cars, and they have different blind spots. This can make it more difficult for truck drivers to see and avoid other vehicles.

In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for driving safely around trucks in Seattle. We will also provide information on the laws and regulations governing truck driving in the state of Washington.

The Risks Involving Large Trucks

While trucks are an indispensable part of the supply chain, keeping the economy running smoothly, their very size and structure can create perilous conditions for smaller vehicles sharing the road. In this section, we will delve into the most common risks associated with driving around large trucks, from increased stopping distances to visibility issues and maneuverability challenges.

Increased Stopping Distance

One of the first things to consider while driving around large trucks is their stopping distance. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a fully loaded large truck can take up to 40% longer to stop compared to a car. Awareness of this can be the difference between a close call and a disastrous incident.

Limited Visibility

The height and length of trucks create large blind spots, also known as ‘no-zones.’ A study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention indicates that poor visibility accounts for a significant number of road accidents involving trucks. As a motorist, staying out of these ‘no-zones’ is crucial for your safety.

Manoeuvrability Challenges

Given their size and weight, large trucks are much less agile than smaller vehicles. Making sudden moves in proximity to a truck puts you at risk and could result in the need for an accident attorney or even worse, a life-altering event.

Types of Truck Accidents

In order to more comprehensively understand the risks associated with driving around large trucks, it’s useful to know the types of accidents these vehicles are commonly involved in. Here are some of the most common types:

Jackknife Accidents

A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of the truck swings out to form a 90-degree angle with the truck’s cab. These incidents are usually the result of abrupt braking or slippery road conditions.

Underride Accidents

In an underride accident, a smaller vehicle goes under the rear or side of the truck, often resulting in catastrophic injuries. These accidents can be so severe that they necessitate the involvement of truck accident lawyers.

Rollover Accidents

If a truck driver loses control, the truck can tip over, spilling its cargo and creating a substantial hazard for nearby vehicles. Rollover accidents often block multiple lanes and can lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups.

Rear-End Collisions

Due to the longer stopping distances required for trucks, rear-end collisions are a frequent occurrence. These can be particularly damaging if you are in a smaller vehicle.

Blind Spot Accidents

Large trucks have extensive blind spots on all four sides, leading to accidents when other drivers, unaware of the truck’s limitations, spend too much time in these ‘no-zones.’

Wide Turn Accidents

Trucks often need to make wide turns, particularly to the right. Cars that try to sneak past a truck making a wide turn can get caught between the truck and the curb, leading to a “squeeze” accident.

Injuries Associated with Truck Accidents

Understanding the types of injuries commonly sustained in accidents involving trucks can provide a sobering perspective on why safety measures are so crucial. Accidents with large trucks often result in more severe injuries compared to collisions between smaller vehicles. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Broken Bones and Fractures
  • Internal Injuries
  • Emotional and Psychological Trauma

Laws and Regulations Governing Truck Driving in Washington

The state of Washington has a number of laws and regulations governing truck driving. These laws are designed to help keep drivers safe on the road. Some of the most important laws and regulations include:

  • Trucks must be equipped with working brake lights, turn signals, and headlights.
  • Truck drivers must obey the speed limit.
  • Truck drivers must not drive while fatigued.
  • Truck drivers must not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Truck drivers must not pass other vehicles in no-passing zones.
  • Truck drivers must not tailgate other vehicles.

Best Practices for Safe Driving Around Trucks

Give trucks plenty of space. When you are driving behind a truck, leave at least three seconds of space between your vehicle and the truck’s bumper. This will give you time to react if the truck stops suddenly.

Avoid passing trucks on the right. Trucks have large blind spots on the right side, so it is dangerous to pass them on this side. Instead, pass trucks on the left when it is safe to do so.

Do not tailgate trucks. Tailgating a truck can make it difficult for the driver to see you, and it can also increase the risk of a rear-end collision.

Be aware of the truck’s blind spots. The truck’s blind spots are located directly behind the truck, to the right of the truck, and in front of the truck, just above the hood. Do not drive in these areas.

Be patient when driving around trucks. Trucks take longer to accelerate and decelerate than passenger cars. Be patient and allow the truck to get ahead of you before you make a turn or change lanes.

Legal Recourse and Representation

Driving safely around trucks in Seattle requires a heightened level of awareness and precaution. By understanding the limitations and risks associated with large trucks, you can make smarter, safer decisions on the road. If, however, you find yourself in a situation that necessitates legal counsel, know that professional help is available to navigate the intricacies of personal injury lawsuits.

So, the next time you hit the Seattle roads, remember these guidelines. And if the unforeseen does happen, to reach out to experienced car accident lawyers at Craig Swapp & Associates. Take action today to protect your future on the road.

Stay safe, and drive smart.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp