Monthly Archives: November 2016

Top 3 Truck Accident Myths – Busted!

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According to the 2012 fatal truck accident crash report from the NHTSA, California ranks third among the states with the most number of vehicle crashes, 6.4 percent of which are truck accidents. Over the years, the distances traveled by big rigs have increased – making it tougher for drivers to meet their quotas. Couple this with fatigue and strict regulations and you have a collision in the making.

But there’s more to accidents than meets the eye. More than the injuries and compensation lay truths about what really went on before AND after the incident. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, then you understand how complicated it can become.

Will the trucking company be held liable? Was the driver really intoxicated before the impact? If the truck jackknifed, can you still survive the collision?

Don’t immediately believe everything you hear, see, or read. When it comes to truck accidents, myths can be deadly. Here’s the top three to be aware of:

 

Truck Accident Myths #1: Trucking companies usually cannot be held liable for accidents.

While the first instinct is to blame the semi truck driver, there are cases wherein the trucking company could be held liable as well. If there’s strong, sufficient evidence that the trucking company committed negligence, then they would need to compensate the victims for injuries and losses.

Among the reasons when this would apply includes:

  • Failure to comply with state and/or federal trucking laws
  • Inadequate training to drivers, or poor maintenance of vehicles
  • Not conducting necessary tests or background checks for their drivers

Even big trucking companies are NOT excused. Meet with a reputable trucking accident lawyer to help determine the extent of fault for your particular case.

 

Truck Accident Myths #2: The worst type of truck accident is jackknifing.

Although jackknifing can catch you off guard, there are other types of truck accidents that could be just as deadly – if not more.

Rollover accidents for example, can be fatal because it could strike at any moment. This could be triggered by strong winds, uneven distribution of load, equipment failure, or bad road conditions. That’s why vehicles sharing the road with big rigs are highly advised against tailgating or getting in a truck’s blind spots. Should the semi rollover, the force of impact would be greater on the passenger vehicle.

Be sure to practice defensive driving techniques when on the highway with semis.

 

Truck Accident Myths #3: Insurance companies will provide fair compensation for truck accident victims.

Although not entirely false, it’s not totally true either. That’s because insurance agencies are mostly looking out for their own policies and profits. As truck accidents are typically complicated matters, victims who immediately agree to settlements from insurance companies could be compromising legitimate accident claims.

If you want to know how much you really deserve and also bust common truck accident myths, it’s best to get in touch with an experienced California truck accident attorney. Take advantage of a free evaluation for your case. Don’t delay or hesitate.

Remember: this is not only for your peace of mind, but also for your future. With the help of a legal expert, you can get the compensation you deserve.

Truck Accidents and Snowy Weather: Crucial Driving Tips for the Holidays

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Although it varies from year to year, New York City usually gets about 25 inches of snow per year. This doesn’t even include places like Rochester and Buffalo that get twice as much during winter months. While people may seem excited with the upcoming holiday, snow usually spells disaster – especially on the roads.

Snowy weather is hazardous to all kinds of vehicles, but particularly to big rigs. Due to their enormous size, heavy loads, and long drives, they pose a threat to their drivers and other motorists. While any type of road accident is scary, trucks make it worse. They can fall over with strong gusts of wind, or skid out of control because of icy highways.

Whether you’ll be sharing the road with them or not, it pays to know how to drive safely in such circumstances. Here are several driving tips meant for snowy weather.

 

Avoid Road Accidents: How To Drive on Icy Roads

Over the past 10 years, snow, sleet, and ice have caused hundreds of thousands of crashes. About two percent of these collisions end up in fatalities. While one can never tell what would happen on the highway during bad weather conditions, it’s best to practice extra precaution and defensive driving to keep you – and your family – safe.

Icy roads, especially black ice, can be almost invisible to the eye. Even the most experienced and careful drivers find themselves careening out of control in the presence of black ice. Aside from ensuring you have the right equipment for wintry weather, take note of the following driving tips as well:

  • Be observant and alert at all times. If you see vehicles sliding ahead or slowing down, downshift to lower gear to gain better control of your vehicle.

 

  • Turn off cruise control and make sure you – and other passengers – are wearing seatbelts.

 

  • Never tailgate, especially with a truck! If you leave about a two to four-second interval between you and the vehicle in front under normal conditions, make it six to eight in snowy weather. This should give you ample time to react in case of emergencies.

 

  • Do not hit the brakes when you feel your vehicle sliding. Stay calm, take your foot off the gas, then shift into neutral.

 

  • Don’t forget to use your headlights, particularly during a snowstorm when visibility is low. This helps you see – and be seen by fellow drivers.

Accidents during snowy weather are not only due to carelessness or ice. Other factors such as distractions, equipment failure, and lack of warning could also play a role. When driving through icy roads, it’s best to remain alert and be prepared for anything.

 

Evading Truck Accidents: Mountain Driving in Snowy Weather

If icy roads are tough, mountain roads pose a different kind of challenge. Elevation plus tight curves are just disasters waiting to happen. Before attempting mountain driving in winter, confirm that you the right equipment: from emergency supplies, to tools.

  • Check that you have at least a half tank of gas before heading off.

 

  • Remove snow and ice from your vehicle, especially from the windshield to allow better visibility.

 

  • Carry a winter survival kit that contains (a minimum of) food, water, emergency flashers, jumper cables, flashlight, and a first aid kit.

 

  • Slow down when approaching mountain curves.

 

  • Observe other vehicles. If you see trucks exiting a highway before reaching a mountain pass, it could be due to blockage or other issues in that area. Remain alert and scan your surroundings.

 

These are just a few of driving safety tips that you should observe during snowy weather.

When it comes to ice and snow, you can never be too safe. If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a truck accident due to winter conditions, reach out to a New York trucking accident lawyer immediately. Take advantage of a free consultation for your benefit.

Brace Yourself: Winter Weather and Truck Accidents

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It’s no coincidence that vehicle incidents increase with the onset of winter weather. But it’s not just snow that makes the roads so dangerous during this time of year.

Shorter days and longer, colder nights make it tough for vehicles, especially trucks, to travel. It’s extra demanding for big rigs due to their massive size, kinds of load, and tight schedules. That’s why they may seem unforgiving while sharing the highway with other motorists.

If you can’t help but be on the road when snow falls, here are a few things to keep in mind:

 

What Makes Winter Weather Driving Challenging

There are three major threats during the colder months:

Shorter daylight. People have this vision of enjoying a warm, cozy night by the fireplace during winter weather. But if you need to drive for hours on end, it’s anything but comfy. As days become shorter, there’s less sunlight to lift mood and give a vitamin D boost. If you feel wearier or ‘lonelier’ during this time of the year, you may not be imagining it.

Experts call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it comes from less exposure to sunlight. It can alter mood, and een sleeping patterns. Truckers in general are already stressed by their strict schedules. Couple that with energy spent fighting off the cold and you get exhausted drivers that may cause truck accidents.

Freezing temperatures. Depending on where you live, snow and ice will build up on your vehicle. Before driving, be sure to remove them for better visibility. If you’re driving with big rigs, stay cautious and avoid their blind spots whenever possible. If you can let them pass first, allow them to do so. Trying to race with an 18-wheeler in six feet of snow is a bad idea.

Remember: with colder temperatures mean lower visibility. If there’s a snow storm, other trucks or the wind might blow up more snow onto a truck’s windshield. If the driver doesn’t see you in time, you could end up in a collision, or in a ditch. Even if your area is not experiencing a lot of snow, practice caution as ice and snow can still present challenges when driving.

Physical/emotional changes.  With winter weather come a shift in mindset and emotional states. As mentioned earlier, one of things you need to be aware of during this time is SAD. Feeling unusually lethargic or weary is one of its symptoms. For some people, this condition can be debilitating.

To combat the depressing effects of cold weather, keep yourself healthy. Exercise and eat a balanced diet, rich in vitamin D (e.g. milk, cheese, egg yolks, orange juice, and cereals). Truckers who are on tight schedules should still try their best to get the right amount of nutrients to fight off exhaustion. Make it a habit to carry snacks like granola bars, cereals, soy milk, or tuna during your travels.

 

Stay Safe on the Road Despite the Cold

Unless absolutely necessary, stay indoors to avoid having to battle with snow and ice during winter months.

If you need to drive for long periods, make sure you’re well rested. Plan for breaks and make frequent stops as necessary. Avoid truck accidents by maintaining your speed and distance from them. Practice defensive driving.

Winter weather can be unforgiving – so do your part in keeping yourself safe.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a trucking accident in Maryland, contact a legal professional immediately. Take advantage of a free consultation for your case. Get in touch with the experts today.

Equipment Failure: A Hidden Prologue To Truck Accidents

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One of the most common causes of truck accidents is equipment failure. One minute, you’re quietly sharing the road with a semi; next thing you know, it seems to have lost control of the brakes and you’re about to get hit. When it comes to such cases of truck accidents, they’re quick and fatal. Blink and you might miss it.

Vehicles involved in these incidents are lucky to sustain only minor injuries. As equipment failure is often undetectable even to truck drivers, you would really be caught unaware.

Knowing what to watch out for, no matter how small, could help save your life. Learn the basics of equipment failure in big rigs and how to stay safe from them.

 

What Makes Equipment Failure So Dangerous

One of the biggest dangers is that, when one – or more – of the truck’s mechanisms fails, several motorists are put in danger. For instance: an 18-wheeler truck with failed brakes can careen out of control and collide with a few vehicles along the road. Even if the driver tries to steer it to safety, due to its massive size, it’s bound to hit cars or passersby.

But threat begins even before a truck can hit the road.

Some manufacturing defects for example, can be left undetected during a routine inspection. Perhaps the biggest hazard is when trucking companies fail to do it. Even if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires proper regular inspection and maintenance, there are trucking companies that send out unsafe trucks on the road.

Aside from failed brakes, other types of equipment failure include:

  • Defective steering device
  • Burned out head/tail lights
  • Tire blowouts or separated treads
  • Failed suspension
  • Transmission or engine failure
  • Improper trailer attachment

In a truck accident case, it can be complex trying to prove that it was equipment failure that caused the collision. There are other factors that could have contributed to the incident. There’s driver error, bad weather conditions, and the possible liability of the manufacturer(s).

 

For Your Safety

Keep these two main points in mind everyday, especially when driving with big rigs:

Practice defensive driving. According to the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course, defensive driving is “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others”. This means NEVER assuming that other drivers, such as those of big rigs, are just as alert and sober as you are.

For example: if a semi truck is preparing to turn right and you’re following behind, don’t assume that nothing will go wrong. The truck might turn over, lose control, or slam into other vehicles. If you don’t practice defensive driving, you’ll be caught off guard when drivers don’t do what you expect.

Always carry an emergency kit. Whenever possible, be prepared by taking the right precautions for your own safety. An emergency kit for your car should have the following:

  • First aid kit
  • Tool kit (screwdriver, pliers, jumper cables, hex keys, etc.)
  • AAA or roadside emergency card
  • tire inflator
  • flashlight with fresh batteries

These are just a few of what you should always have inside your car. Other useful equipment to have is dash cams, to record any incident that might happen while on the road. If you can afford it, a fire extinguisher is also a sound investment.

 

Truck accidents involving equipment failure can be tricky. That’s because you would need a team of experts to prove that a) the equipment really was defective or malfunctioned during the time of the incident; and b) establish liability. Here’s where the services of a trusted trucking accident lawyer would be necessary.

Choose someone with years of experience and dozens of cases won. Make sure he or she also has the best team to help you uncover the truth. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident and you suspect that equipment failure is to blame, call an expert today.

Semi Truck Accidents: Beware of Road Gators!

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There’s a different kind of ‘gator’ problem in Texas. This one is terrorizing roads, and is responsible for many dangerous accidents.

Road gators, or bits of tires that look like an alligator’s back, have been known to smash through windshields, knock against bikers, and make drivers lose control of their vehicles. This problem is common in interstate highways, where the speed limit is usually 70 or 75 mph.

But just how dangerous can these bits of tires be? And what do they have to do with semi trucks?

 

Road Gators: What Are They and Why Are They Dangerous?

As mentioned, road gators are bits of tires that have come off – more specifically, treads that have separated from the tires of large vehicles, such as big rigs.

While there’s a common misconception that these are caused by retreaded tires, experts say that 70 percent of grown road gators (those reaching 8 to 10 feet long) are due to low tire pressure.

In the case of semi trucks, as they are massive and heavy to begin with, low tire pressure expands the problem. This, along with repeatedly hitting curbs, potholes, and other road hazards, makes the tire susceptible to becoming a road gator.

Another factor that contributes to the problem is the weather. Road gators become more rampant in the summer than in rainy months. The heat, combined with uneven roads, high speeds, and heavy load, will soon give birth to these dangerous beasts. If drivers of other vehicles are not careful, they could give rise to baby road gators, too.

Perhaps the biggest issue is that most drivers (whether of semi trucks or cars) are not aware that the treads of their tires are already becoming loose. It often takes awareness and long-term experience to know if you’re about to give birth to a road gator. But if you think your tires might be acting funny, slowly pull over on the side of the road to inspect your wheels.

If you encounter one while on the highway, you might panic and lose control of the vehicle. Quickly swerving or changing lanes to avoid it might put you in a collision course with other vehicles. However, being on its way might damage your car and give you a shock. When it comes to gators, it seems there’s no win-win solution.

 

How To Be Safe from Road Gators

So how do you stay safe from these road monsters? There’s no surefire way, but by staying alert and observant, you may decrease your chances of getting into an accident because of road gators.

As these commonly come from semi trucks, be sure to follow road safety rules when sharing the road with them:

  • Always prepare yourself to meet a road gator at anytime, especially during the summer. If you spot vehicles slowing down, or if you pass by a semi on the side of the road, assume that there might be a road gator ahead. Slow down and remain alert!

 

  • Don’t swerve too much to avoid them. Decrease your speed but maintain control of your car. By swerving a few inches, you can already keep away from road gators and stay safe. Speeding is one of the main causes of accidents – so don’t panic!

 

  • Keep your distance when driving with semi trucks. Steer clear of their blind spots and avoid tailgating at all times. If you hear odd sounds or howls when near big rigs, watch out! A road gator might be born any minute.

 

As it’s going to be difficult dealing with road accident involving road gators from semi trucks, it’s best to consult a Texas truck accident attorney for legal advice. A professional can help you figure out the best logical steps to take. Talk to a legal expert today.

How Bad Weather Contributes To Truck Accidents

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Plenty of vehicle crashes happen during bad weather. Fatalities are common due to snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Upstate New York for instance, is known for heavy snowfall. In such cases, there two crucial things that drivers of any motor vehicle must observe: extra caution and proper equipment.

Here’s what to keep in mind when on the road during inclement weather.

 

Truck Accidents in Rain, Fog, and Snow

You can’t stop bad weather from happening – but you can control how you drive. When there’s snow, rain, or fog, drivers, especially those of commercial big rigs, are expected to take extra precaution on the road.

Driving long distances for example, are already exhausting on its own. But add bad weather to the mix and suddenly, it’s a whole different story. It’s also possible that conditions change as you drive from one state to another. It’s even worse in winter, when roads are frozen and truck accidents are common because drivers need to deliver load on time.

The pressure to beat the clock often leads big rigs to speed, change lanes quickly, or avoid stops altogether, just to get the goods to its destination as scheduled. However, exhaustion and unsafe road conditions make for deadly outcomes. If you’re driving with trucks, watch out for jackknifing and dangerous rollovers, just to name a few.

Just because a truck accident was caused by bad weather doesn’t automatically mean that no one can be held liable.

It’s expected of drivers to observe proper techniques during inclement conditions. For example: if there’s a reported blizzard, it’s likely that trucking companies may require their drivers to stay out of the road until further notice. Violating this may be grounds for negligence.

If it’s proven that a commercial truck driver has been negligent (e.g. speeding, driving recklessly, unsafe lane changes) in a collision, then the victim may be entitled to compensation for his/her injuries. Getting help from a trusted and experienced legal expert is highly advised in such scenarios.

 

Staying Safe on the Road During Bad Weather

Whether it’s rain, snow, or fog, be sure to adjust your driving patterns to accommodate inclement weather conditions. If driving on icy roads for instance, don’t forget to:

  • Use the right snow tires
  • Check your windshield wipers
  • Carry all-season windshield washer fluid
  • Clean windows and roof of vehicle
  • Dress in warm, appropriate clothing
  • Ensure both headlights are working as intended

The proper equipment will not only help you drive better, it can save lives. Once you’re on the road, follow these safety tips:

  • Watch vehicles from the other lane. If you see them slowing down, you might be going too fast.
  • For long-distance driving, be sure to make frequent stops.
  • If you get stuck on the snow, get out and check that the exhaust is not covered up.
  • In case of sliding or skidding, remain in control. The last thing you want is to make sudden decisions, like make a quick turn or hit the brakes hard.

If sharing the road with trucks during bad weather:

  • Avoid tailgating.
  • Maintain a distance of at least two cars apart.
  • Keep away from its blind spots.
  • Watch out for falling load, wide turns, or tire blow outs

Collisions with big rigs can be fatal. Even if you were careful, there are always other factors at play. Drivers may be exhausted, or one or more of the equipment in the truck malfunctioned.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, get in touch with a New York truck accident lawyer as soon as you can. A thorough investigation will reveal if bad weather has played a role in the incident.

Aim to get good legal advice for your truck accident case today.

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