We have all been there before, driving down the highway, wondering if the semi-truck in front of us is a dangerous driver, and planning out how to drive defensively in case they are. Driving next to an oversized vehicle like a semi-truck can be especially concerning, given the potential damage they might cause if they are involved in an accident.
If you have been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, speak to an experienced truck accident attorney in El Paso as soon as you can.
Semi-Truck Restrictions in Texas
Semi-trucks play an important role in the economy and are found every day traveling through the state of Texas. While cars and trucks co-exist on the roadways of Texas, many passenger vehicle drivers are not aware of the many restrictions placed on commercial freight trucks. These laws have been put in place to protect bikers, pedestrians, and those driving smaller vehicles from the serious injuries a large semi-truck accident can cause.
Although Texas does not specifically prohibit trucks from driving in the left lane on the highway, they are included in the “slow poke” law along with the rest of the vehicles on the road. This law is meant to prohibit slower vehicles from hanging out in the left passing lane, causing potential traffic problems and is punishable by a fine of up to $200.
Staying Safe on the Road – Precautious Driving Tips
Understanding tips for sharing the road with semi-trucks can help to prevent critical accidents from occurring. Some ways to protect yourself and share the road safely include:
- Give trucks a lot of space when you are passing them, and put your blinker on in advance of attempting to pass.
- Recognize a truck’s blind spot and make sure to avoid this area, don’t linger when passing.
- Check to see if you can see the driver in the truck’s mirror before you pull in front of them to pass.
- Be especially careful when merging in front of a truck.
- Always avoid cutting a truck off because a truck is at risk of jackknifing or a rollover if they have to suddenly hit their brakes.
Careful, defensive driving can reduce your risk of an accident with a semi-truck, but there are times when this is not enough. If you are involved in an accident with a driver who was driving recklessly without the duty of care required to stay safe on the road, talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer to learn more about your options.
Common Causes of Truck Crashes
Truck accidents are some of the most severe and devastating accidents on the roads. Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, they can cause significant damage to property and life in the event of an accident. The causes of truck accidents can be numerous and complex.
Speeding trucks are at a higher risk of crashing, and the resulting crashes can be much more serious when a truck is driving too fast. When truck drivers are in the fast lane when they shouldn’t be, they are likely traveling too fast for the weather, road, or traffic conditions. This means that any driver near them is in danger of suffering life-changing injuries in a truck accident.
The most common cause of truck accidents is driver error. Truck drivers are human and can make mistakes, just like any other driver on the road. Common examples of driver error include speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and failing to properly maintain the truck.
When a truck driver makes an error and causes a crash, both the driver and the trucking company might be responsible for your injuries and losses.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Another significant cause of truck accidents is poor maintenance. Trucks that are not regularly maintained can suffer from mechanical issues, such as brake failures, tire blowouts, and steering malfunctions. These problems can make it difficult for drivers to control the truck, leading to accidents. The trucking company is often to blame for poor fleet maintenance, but the truck driver might also be negligent if they fail to conduct inspections.
Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet tight delivery schedules, which can lead to driver fatigue. Fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to react quickly and make good decisions, making accidents more likely. Regulations are in place to limit the number of hours that truck drivers can drive in a day or week, but some drivers may ignore these regulations to meet delivery deadlines.
Weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and ice, can make driving conditions hazardous for all drivers, including truck drivers. In some cases, truck drivers may not adjust their driving behavior to accommodate the weather conditions, leading to accidents. Drivers should never go too fast for the conditions.
Overloading a truck can be a significant cause of accidents. When a truck is carrying more weight than it is designed to carry, it can become unstable and difficult to control. Overloading can also lead to tire blowouts and brake failures, both of which can cause accidents.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Trucks must be loaded properly to ensure that the weight is distributed evenly and that the cargo is secure. Improperly loaded cargo can cause the truck to become unstable and difficult to control, leading to accidents. Third parties might be liable if their crews are in charge of loading the cargo and they are negligent.
Reach out to an El Paso Truck Accident Lawyer Right Away
An accident involving a semi-truck can result in serious or even deadly injuries. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident and believe that a semi-truck driver is liable, contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at Cesar Ornelas Injury Law today. You can contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We understand the challenges you face; we are here and ready to help in the aftermath of your accident.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.