Texas drivers are used to the sight of large 18-wheel semi-trucks on our highways, but sharing the road with these vehicles can be challenging. A large semi-truck can weigh as much as 40 tons and can take twice as much distance to stop as a passenger vehicle. In addition, big rigs have multiple blind spots which make it difficult for their drivers to see vehicles in their immediate vicinity.
Drivers of smaller vehicles should avoid lingering in a semi-truck's blind spots. Crashes are more likely to happen when vehicles are in one of the four zones where they are invisible to the truck driver. Remember that if you can't see the truck's side mirrors, the truck driver can't see you.
Of course, even the most cautious driver can be the victim of a collision caused by a negligent or unqualified truck driver, or by negligent truck maintenance. Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem that has caused numerous accidents. And, as we discussed in a post earlier this year, there are some Texas highways where the posted speed limit for semi-trucks is higher than the safe speed rating on their tires.
When an individual is injured or killed in an accident caused by truck driver negligence, the victim or their family members may have legal rights. The truck driver and the truck company could be held liable for their negligence in a court of law. They could be required to pay compensation to an injured victim or, in fatal accident cases, the surviving family members.
Source: Texas Department of Transportation, "Driving with Large Trucks," accessed July 20, 2015