prevent a semi truck accident

5 Ways to Prevent a Semi-Truck Accident

Nearly everyone in South Carolina sometimes relies on using the state’s 41,500-mile-long network of roads and highways. So it’s sobering to discover that a report compiled by Forbes Advisor at the end of 2022 ranked South Carolina as the second most dangerous state for drivers in the U.S., surpassed only by Montana.

Based out of Greenville, we’re proud that The Clardy Law Firm has earned a reputation as a trusted, local firm of personal injury lawyers, specializing in getting our clients all the compensation they deserve and require to rebuild their lives after becoming the victims of life-changing road accidents.   

Nevertheless, we naturally believe prevention is always preferable to compensation in the aftermath of an accident. As our experienced semi-truck accident attorneys sadly attest, some of the most serious accidents on our highways involve semi-trucks and trailers.

When fully loaded, a tractor-trailer can weigh up to 40 tons, and even empty still usually weigh between 17 and 18 tons. The current speed limit for commercial trucks on South Carolina’s interstate roads remains 70mph. So, if a fully laden, 40-ton semi-truck were to hit you while stationary at the maximum legal speed, the impact force is calculated at just under 50,000 tons.

Thankfully, road accidents involving semi-trucks are still less frequent than those exclusively involving cars. However, when semi-truck accidents occur, they often involve a large commercial vehicle crashing with smaller cars or trucks. As such, it’s easy to understand why accidents of this type are much more likely to result in serious injury or death, given the sheer scale of semi-trucks compared to other road vehicles. Around 80% of truck accidents where fatalities occur also involve other vehicles.

If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, don’t hesitate to contact the expert South Carolina trucking accident lawyers at The Clardy Law Firm to help. We can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve following your accident.

In the meantime, here’s some valuable road safety advice to help keep you safe around semi-trucks out on the road and reduce the chance of those bad accidents ever happening.

Stay Clear of Blind Spots

Semi-trucks typically have more blind spots than regular vehicles. They’re also larger. The truck driver will have more trouble seeing a smaller vehicle coming from behind. Remember that if you can’t see the driver in their side view mirrors, they probably can’t see you. Semi-trucks have blind spots on all four sides, so when driving near or around a semi-truck, be aware you’re in its blind spots when you are:

  • Less than 20 feet in front of the truck
  • Less than 30 feet to the rear of the trailer
  • Out one lane from the left of the truck
  • Out two lanes from the right of the truck.

Use Your Signals

Be aware that trucks need more time and room to get through traffic due to their size and weight. And when it comes to braking in an emergency, remember that even in dry weather, the FMCSA calculates the stopping distance of a fully loaded semi-truck traveling at 65 mph at 525 feet (almost the height of the Washington Monument).

Therefore, giving trucks extra distance on the road is essential, and always using your signals early, ensuring you’re not in one of the vehicle’s blind spots and providing plenty of warning when switching lanes around semi-trucks and other large vehicles.

Related reading: What to Do after a Truck Accident in South Carolina

Stay Back and Pass Safely

Driving too closely to a truck can significantly increase the likelihood of a semi-truck accident. Follow at least five seconds behind a semi-truck, and you’ll be given enough time and distance to react and stop safely if the semi-truck driver runs into difficulties.

When it’s safe to pass a semi-truck, don’t hover and execute the manoeuvre as quickly as possible without driving recklessly. Remember, never pass a semi-truck while it is indicating to turn left or right, as large trucks have a wide turn, may not see you, and collide.

Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions

Avoid taking your focus off the road in general. But be incredibly mindful when near large trucks. You should avoid distractions like cellphone use, talking to passengers, eating, using a GPS or other electronic devices, and adjusting your radio.

Keep your speed even and your driving predictable, and check both your side and rearview mirrors once every 5-8 seconds to ensure you’re alert to the status of the road around you.  

Related reading: What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement?

Wear Your Seat Belt

Aside from New Hampshire, wearing a seat belt is required by law in every U.S. state, and South Carolina is no exception. More importantly, those who buckle up in the front and back seats are 45% less likely to suffer fatal injuries in a crash.

Wearing your seat belt will protect you if you’re involved in a semi-truck accident. It’s the most effective way to reduce the risk of serious injury or death. However, if you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident due to the reckless actions of another road user, we recommend contacting The Clardy Law Firm.