What Is a No-Zone Truck Accident?
No matter where you’re driving, you’re likely to encounter tractor-trailers. These big trucks help our economy function, and without them, our ability to access many of the goods we use regularly would be severely hindered. Since these trucks are so large, it is important that you are especially cautious when traveling close to one. The size of the vehicle can lead to much-more-catastrophic accidents compared to those only involving passenger vehicles.
A no-zone truck accident is a type of accident that involves a semi truck’s blind spots. The Federal Highway Administration created a campaign to help educate the public on how to responsibly share the highway with large trucks. This “no-zone” campaign urged drivers to stay clear of no-zones: the dangerous areas around large vehicles where accidents are most likely to occur.
Given the number of semi-trucks operating on a daily basis, as well as the millions of people who either live in or visit Florida, the possibility exists of being involved in a serious truck accident. Even if you happened to be in or near a no-zone, the accident could still have occurred through no real fault of your own.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a truck accident, do not hesitate to reach out and contact an experienced attorney at the law offices of Darrigo & Diaz. Our Tampa truck accident lawyers can help you determine who was truly at fault for your collision and then seek the maximum amount of compensation available for your damages.
The “No-Zones” of Trucks
Learning how to safely navigate roads you share with tractor-trailers can start with you learning the “no-zones” of large trucks.
These no-zones, or blind spots, are places where it is difficult or impossible for a truck driver to see your vehicle. Because of the way a semi-truck is built, most of these large vehicles only have side-view mirrors. Without the benefit of having rear-view mirrors, it is more difficult for truck drivers to see who is on the road around them. Knowing this and learning how to avoid the spots that side-view mirrors may miss — the no-zones — will help you stay safe and avoid accidents when traveling in close proximity to a tractor-trailer.
Typically, there are three main no-zones:
After passing a semi-truck in the left lane, you should allow ample room between the front of the truck and the rear of your car before merging back into the right lane. If you travel too close to the front of the truck and encounter a situation that requires you to slam on your brakes, the truck behind you may not have enough time to slow down or stop. Due to the size and weight of the truck, braking and coming to a complete stop takes much longer than in a passenger vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), loaded tractor-trailers can take 20% – 40% farther to stop than cars. Additionally, inclement weather that causes wet or slippery roads may make this already dangerous situation even worse.
Following a truck too closely can cause a catastrophic accident. If the truck in front of you needs to brake suddenly, you run the risk of a collision that can cause serious injury. If you are following a tractor-trailer, it is important to leave plenty of room between your car and the truck in front of you. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can’t see the side-view mirrors of the truck, the truck driver can’t see you.
A rear-end collision with a semi-truck can be especially dangerous. Semi-trucks generally have a much higher ground clearance than passenger cars, which can lead to deadly accidents. Though these tractor-trailers are required to have guards to stop vehicles from becoming wedged under them, their usage is not well-regulated — and the ones in use are not necessarily well-maintained. Your best chance at avoiding a rear collision is to make sure you aren’t following too closely and will have the chance to stop abruptly, if necessary.
Although it may sometimes be nerve-wracking to pass a semi-truck, it is better for you to pass the truck than it would be for you to drive alongside it. Because of the length of the vehicles, there are spots along the middle of the truck that the driver can’t easily see. The distance between the driver and their right-side mirror also means that the blind spot is much larger on the right than on the left.
If you are driving next to a truck and the driver tries to merge into your lane and doesn’t see you, the consequences could be deadly. Avoid these dangerous situations by always signaling clearly, passing quickly, and leaving enough room in front of the truck before merging back in your lane. When merging in front of a tractor-trailer, it is a good idea to leave your turn signal on longer than you normally might to ensure the driver knows your intentions before you get in front of them.
Primary Causes of No-Zone Accidents
While any number of things may cause an accident, including riding in a truck’s blind spot, there may be primary factors that cause a truck driver to get into a collision they normally could have avoided.
Here are a few of the main reasons why an accident with a commercial vehicle may occur:
- Fatigue — Drivers are under intense pressure to deliver their cargo in a timely manner. Even though there are industry regulations about how long drivers can work on a given day, drivers may end up breaking these rules in order to ensure faster delivery. Working long hours can cause fatigue, thus putting themselves and other drivers on the road at greater risk for an accident.
- Impaired Driving — In order to combat fatigue, drivers may take stimulants which can impair judgment and reaction time. Additionally, driving after drinking or taking other substances can create a situation where everyone on the road is at greater risk for a deadly accident.
- Distracted Driving — Every year, distracted driving causes many accidents. Drivers can be distracted by their phones, loud radios, or even just eating or drinking. When truck drivers are trying to multitask, their ability to concentrate on driving is diminished. Though there are laws to help regulate this behavior, unfortunately, it can’t stop every accident from occurring.
How Darrigo & Diaz Can Help You After Your Tampa Truck Crash
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the leading cause of injuries in the United States is vehicle accidents. These accidents can cause severe injuries, which may lead to long hospital stays, huge hospital bills, missed wages, or even job loss.
Depending on the particular facts of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for your hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you or someone you love was involved in a truck accident, then your best hope for financial and medical recovery is to seek reasonable compensation from all parties involved. Call Darrigo & Diaz to speak to a truck accident lawyer in Tampa during a free, no-risk, no-obligation case evaluation. Call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential appointment now.