18 wheelers, tankers and other big trucks have a much higher risk for being involved in a lane change or improper merging crash than a car. Why?
Truckers driving tractor-trailers, dump trucks and other big rigs usually have to depend on mirrors to see along the sides and behind the truck. Unfortunately, this leaves large blind spots where the driver can’t see other vehicles beside and to the rear. If another vehicle is in one of the blind spots, or the truck driver is not paying proper attention and starts to change lanes, a sideswipe collison can result. Beside the basic shortcomings of the mirror system, damaged or poorly adjusted mirrors, not signaling a lane change, not anticipating lane merges and driving too fast for conditions can contribute to improper lane change crashes.
An 18 wheeler accident arising from improper lane change or related actions can also happen when a truck changes lanes frequently, straddles two lanes, or weaves across lanes, another known cause of truck crashes. Driver fatigue, driver inattention or distraction can also be factors in these crashes.
Each year there are about 25,000 police reported truck wrecks involving a lane change by an 18 wheeler or other commercial truck. Missouri State Patrol statistics indicate that in 2012 approximately 10% of Missouri truck accidents involved improper lane change/usage by the tractor-trailer, delivery truck or other commercial vehicle. Most of these happen on interstate highways during the day in good weather. To a knowledgeable 18 wheeler accident attorney Kansas City presents a prime example with heavily traveled Interstates 35, 70 and 435 in the metro area.
Prevention and New Technology
To prevent unsafe lane change crashes, truck drivers are advised to try to stay in one lane when driving on urban freeways and other high traffic roads, due to the higher traffic density and speeds and the smaller margin for error in these situations. Technology like lane departure warning systems and video cameras mounted on the sides of trucks, to provide visibility in the mirrors blind spots, are available to help prevent these collisions. Unfortunately, many trucks still do not have them.
Due to the sheer size of commercial trucks when compared to the average passenger vehicle, victims of an 18 wheeler accident or other truck crash caused by improper merging or lane changes are at risk for serious or even fatal injuries. Examples of these injuries are fractures, broken bones, brain injuries, nerve damage, severed limbs, burns, concussions, and lacerations.
A lane change accident case, like most truck accident injury claims, are typically more difficult to handle than regular car accident injury claims. If you or someone you love is seriously injured, disabled, or killed in a truck accident resulting from an improper lane change, call (816) 221-0501 to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney from Flick Law Firm.