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Truck Accidents: Negligent Lane Changes

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Phoenix, AZChanging lanes while driving can be a highly stressful action, even in small vehicle; after all, there are blind spots to worry about and other drivers to watch for. For semi trucks, lane changes can be even more difficult because they have very large blind spots and drivers have difficulty seeing all the vehicles on the road around them.

Fast TruckAll semi trucks have side-view mirrors. However, they do not have rearview mirrors and the side-view mirrors can only show them a certain amount of the road around them. This means that even though you know the semi truck is next to you, the semi truck driver may not be aware that you are next to him. The best way to gauge whether or not a truck driver can see you is to check his mirrors. If you cannot see the truck driver in his mirrors, then he probably cannot see you.

Most truck drivers are careful while behind the wheel, but there are some instances in which an accident can occur despite everybody's best attempts to avoid them. Sometimes, semi truck drivers are forced to change lanes quickly to avoid an accident ahead of them on the road. In such cases, a person driving in the truck driver's blind spot is at a risk of an accident.

Some truck drivers are not as careful, checking only briefly for vehicles around them before they change lanes. Here, too, drivers of other vehicles on the road can be at a risk of serious injury if they are in the truck driver's blind spot and he changes lanes abruptly, without double-checking for other vehicles.

Of course, the semi truck and the automobile it hits are not the only vehicles on the road. Many semi truck accidents involve more than two vehicles because the smaller vehicle is often spun out of control and into the path of other vehicles. That puts other drivers on the road at serious risk of injury, even if they are not involved in the initial collision.

While blind spots are a fact of life for all drivers on the road, there are things semi truck drivers can do to minimize blind spots and decrease the risk of accidents. They can keep their mirrors clean and properly adjusted for maximum visibility. They can also install fender-mounted or extension-mounted mirrors to improve visibility. Truck drivers should also keep a six second following distance behind the vehicle ahead of them—doing so reduces the need for a sudden lane change should the vehicle ahead come to an abrupt stop.

Truck drivers should also stay in the right lane as much as possible and avoid making unnecessary lane changes. Where lane changes are necessary, signaling well in advance of the change lets other drivers on the road know what the semi driver's intentions are and allows the other drivers to adapt.

Unfortunately, not all semi drivers follow these recommendations, and the result is that innocent people are seriously injured or killed when a semi truck makes a sudden lane change. A lane change may take only a second, but the consequences of a negligent lane change can last a lifetime.

If you have been injured in an accident with a semi truck, contact a lawyer to discuss your options.


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