If you navigate Illinois roadways on a daily basis, you may be familiar with driving alongside tractor trailers. What you may not know is just how dangerous driving next to tractor trailers can be, especially when the truck driver manning the enormous vehicle has spent more than 14 hours behind the wheel. Drowsy truckers are a major problem for people in Illinois and across the United States. They are responsible for causing thousands of truck accidents, injuring and killing many people along the way.
At the Law Office of Kerley & Associates, we know how impatient you usually feel when you get stuck behind a line of 18-wheelers on one of Illinois’ roads or highways. If traffic is so heavy that you cannot quickly pass the trucks one by one, your frustration increases and you may attempt to pass several at once when you get a chance to do so, such as on a downhill grade with no oncoming vehicles. This can be a dangerous decision, however, because as Evan Transportation explains, the possibility of a jackknife increases substantially when a truck goes downhill or when it goes around a curve or turn in the road.
If you are an Illinois motorist, you may be used to sharing the road with large tractor trailers. These giant vehicles can be extremely dangerous, causing serious tractor trailer accidents, injuries and even death. Americans need tractor trailers to deliver important goods throughout the nation. However, it is important to understand the common causes of truck accidents so that you may be able to prevent them from occurring.
On Illinois highways, motorists share the road with tractor trailers and other heavy vehicles. The variation in size and weight of all the vehicles on the roads can create unique hazards, and no one knows that better than you, if you are a semitruck driver. Your vehicle is bigger and heavier than many others, so what can you do to prevent truck accidents and keep everyone safer?
The thought of being hit by a drunk or a drugged driver is an understandably worrisome one for Illinois residents. If that drunk or drugged driver happens to be operating a semi truck, dump truck or other very large and heavy commercial vehicle, your concerns may well be even greater than if they were driving a passenger car. The weight and size of these vehicles can definitely increase the serious nature of the consequences of such crashes.
Illinois passenger vehicle occupants are at high risk of catastrophic injury or death if they crash into the back or side of a huge 18-wheeler. As reported by Forbes, the bottom of the trailer is so high off the ground that the passenger vehicle slides underneath it in a crash rather than stopping at the moment of impact.
CBS Chicago reported on a March 1, 2018, accident that involved three semitrucks and four vehicles. One person died as a result of the collision, and Illinois Interstate 290 closed for half a day while first responders worked the scene. Because the crash caught fire and caused a fatality, the National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate. They are hoping to determine what triggered the deadly collision.
The truck drivers constantly ferrying goods in and out of Springfield often spend consecutive periods of long hours behind the wheel. This can inevitably contribute to fatigue. Given how dangerous fatigued drivers can be when operating standard vehicles, one can only imagine how much more damage they can cause when driving a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that a fully loaded tractor-trailer requires 20-40 percent more roadway than a traditional vehicle to stop. Picturing a drowsy truck driver trying to do so after realizing that he or she is getting too close to another vehicle should serve as evidence of the need to limit trucker working hours.
Accidents involving large trucks in Illinois often are quite serious. The size and weight of these vehicles increase the chances for critical injuries, death and property damage. When a truck causes an accident, it becomes something that requires study. Even if the truck is merely involved in the accident and did not cause it, this still requires looking into because finding why truck accidents occur can help to prevent them in the future.
Ever busier interstates and increasingly distracted drivers have placed the importance of traffic safety prominently on a national stage. More specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has highlighted the need for caution among semitruck drivers, pointing out the occurrence of 3,346 injuries in accidents involving large trucks on Illinois highways in 2016.