Whether you are a trucker or a driver who frequently shares the road with a semi truck, you know how much care is required to avoid a truck accident. Truck accident attorney Jordon Harlan has worked with numerous drivers on both sides of the issue to help them establish who was at fault in a truck crash.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, call Jordon Harlan for a no-cost consultation about your case.
How Truck Accidents Happen
When we think of semi trucks, we usually picture them on wide, lonely stretches of interstate. But every truck is headed somewhere, and it is not unusual to encounter these enormous vehicles in crowded urban areas or while making your way through steep, winding backroads. Unfortunately, the combination of treacherous roadways, unpredictable weather and small mistakes by the truck driver or other motorists can turn into a deadly combination.
Here are just a few of the risk factors that can cause truck accidents:
- Mechanical failure: At 10,000 feet, a truck cannot perform as well as it does in lower elevations. Without proper maintenance, the added stress of high elevation can cause a truck to break down suddenly. Mechanical failures such as bad brakes, faulty exhaust systems or a failed defroster can be the cause of a deadly truck accident.
- Speeding: The rule of thumb is that trucks should not go down a mountain any faster than they can go up it. Without downshifting to a lower gear during a steep descent, a semi truck can quickly gain uncontrollable momentum.
- Unpredictable weather: Even on a sunny day, rain or snow can show up without warning. But perhaps the greatest danger to trucks comes from the high winds that often blow unchecked across open interstate highways. Semi trucks are top heavy, and a sudden gust of wind can easily cause a trucker to lose control of the vehicle, or even cause the truck to tip or roll over.
- Changes in temperature: Mountain, coastal and desert climates involve frequent changes in temperature throughout the day. This often causes tire pressure to deflate, causing a major hazard for trucks on the road. Tire blowouts cause more 78,000 crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Hugging the center line: Some truck drivers tend to compensate for the narrow mountain roads by driving too close to the center line. While this may give drivers a feeling of cushion from the edge of the road, it can crowd other vehicles off the road.
Rules for Trucks on the Highway
Trucking law involves very specific rules about determining fault in accidents. These rules apply not only to the truck driver, but also to the company employing the driver. Truck drivers must pass frequent vehicle inspections and ensure that their trucks are properly maintained.
In addition to basic safety measures such as keeping your truck properly maintained, staying within the legal limit of driving hours, and maintaining regular driving reports, truck drivers should be aware of these state-specific rules. Following these rules can help protect drivers from liability if they are involved in a truck crash:
- Truck drivers must use chains on four drive tires during winter conditions and/or whenever the state puts chain law into effect (usually between September 1st and May 31st).
- The truck must be marked on both sides with company name and DOT number.
- The truck must have emergency equipment including a fire extinguisher and either three bi-directional reflective triangles or fuses.
- If your truck is towing a vehicle weighing more than 3,000 pounds, the vehicle must have brakes on all wheels, as well as a breakaway brake system in case it becomes detached.
- Truck drivers must wear seat belts.
What to Do If You’ve Been in a Truck Accident in San Diego
Many state courts can be very tough on truck drivers. However, if you are a truck driver who has been involved in a truck accident, it may not be all your fault. While driver error is often found to be the main cause of truck accidents, in some cases the blame lies with trucking companies or contractors putting pressure on truck drivers to exceed the legal limit of driving hours. Truck accidents may also result from faulty maintenance or inadequate inspection.
If you have been involved in a truck crash, make sure that your rights are protected. Call truck accident attorney Jordon Harlan for a free, no-obligation discussion of your case. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damage caused to your vehicle and any injuries you may have sustained. Jordon can help you understand your rights and inform you about your legal options after a truck accident. Contact us to make sure that your rights are honored in court.