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Safety Tips to Avoid Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Although some truck accidents are unavoidable, there are certain critical steps that drivers can take to safeguard against an accident with a tractor-trailer:

Understand the limitations of the truck driver. A truck driver’s ability to change lanes, brake and stop the truck are adversely affected by the truck’s size and weight. This is why you should pay careful attention to trucks on the road and treat them differently than you would other motor vehicles. Since trucks cannot stop as quickly, tailgating becomes extremely dangerous. Therefore, if you are driving behind a truck, it is important to keep a safe distance at all times, especially when changing lanes. Try not to drive next to a truck for an extended period of time. If you absolutely must pass in front of the truck, try to do so as quickly as possible, all the while keeping your full attention on the road. If a trucker is driving aggressively, slow down and let him or her pass or get off at the nearest exit. It is also important to report aggressive or faulty truck drivers to the proper authorities whenever possible.

Stay visible. Trucks and tractor trailers are designed such that they have large blind spots. In particular, truck drivers have limited visibility beside and behind them. If you cannot see the driver of a truck or his mirrors, most likely he is unable to see you. Trucks are also very noisy, and it is possible that truck drivers will not notice another vehicle even if that vehicle has its lights on or uses its horn. It is crucial to try to stay out of the path of a truck, pay close attention to turn signals and slow down your vehicle when in a truck’s blind spot.

Pull completely off the road if you have to make an emergency stop. If you have a flat tire, get into an accident or experience any other vehicle malfunction, you may be tempted to pull over right near the road to handle it, without having to pull onto the shoulder. This can be problematic and very dangerous because truck drivers generally tend to follow traffic, and may possibly follow a stopped car and run right into it without realizing that they have come upon it. In case of an emergency on the road, it is best to get as far off the road as possible and wait for help.

Be extra cautious when driving in adverse conditions. Inclement weather and other adverse driving conditions can affect every vehicle on the road, big or small. It is important to exercise more caution when you are driving at night, and to slow down in fog, smoke or rain. Smoky or foggy conditions make it more difficult for drivers to see the road, and thereby decrease the time drivers have to respond to emergency situations which may arise. Slick, wet roads make it more difficult for all vehicles to stop, and this difficulty is only enhanced for trucks. Recognizing that poor weather conditions make the road more dangerous, and showing extra care when driving during these conditions, can help you prevent an accident.

Drive Defensively. One of the most common things that you may not be able to prepare for while on the road is the negligence of other drivers. Even though you may be taking proper safety precautions, other drivers may follow trucks too closely, recklessly change lanes or stop suddenly in the presence of dangerous trucks. For this reason, it is crucial to keep your distance from these other drivers and drive defensively, particularly around trucks.

Keep in mind that your Massachusetts truck accident injury claim or Massachusetts wrongful death claim may not be barred if you fail to prevent an accident. Whether you can maintain a claim will depend on the degree of your fault. Under the legal doctrine known as comparative negligence, the amount of another negligent party's liability for the truck accident is determined by comparing his or her carelessness with the carelessness of all of the other parties involved. Each contributing party's portion of liability determines the percentage of the resulting monetary damages that he or she must pay. In Massachusetts, if you are less than 50% at fault in your accident, you will remain eligible to recover your share of monetary damages.

If you have any questions regarding your Boston, MA truck accident claim, call the Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates at 617-787-3700 or email us at Our skilled Boston truck accident lawyers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist you. Call today!

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