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Caution equals greater safety when driving near large trucks

Getting stuck behind a large truck on a West Virginia highway can frustrate drivers, but impatient attempts to pass the commercial vehicle could cause an accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 68 percent of the people who died in crashes with large trucks in 2014 were the occupants of passenger vehicles.

Awareness of the truck driver's limitations could help people adopt a patient attitude when sharing the road. Large trucks impose blind spots on drivers. Known as no-zones, these areas behind and alongside the trucks are invisible to the truck driver. If a car driver cannot see the truck driver's face in the truck's side mirrors, then the truck driver cannot see the other driver. Someone driving into a no-zone increases the chance of a crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration identified passenger vehicle entries into no-zones as the source of one-third of car and truck accidents.

The sheer size of big rigs creates hazards as well. A loaded commercial truck could weigh 40 tons whereas a sedan might weigh only 2 tons. Any crash between them will most likely result in significant damage to the smaller car. Size also influences a truck's stopping distance, which could be as much as double that of a passenger vehicle. When passing a large truck, motorists need to take into account the truck's limited ability to stop in time to avoid a wreck.

Although mistakes made by drivers of passenger cars cause some crashes, truck driver negligence also happens. A person who has been harmed by a truck accident could ask an attorney to investigate the case and organize evidence for a personal injury claim. An attorney might uncover evidence of truck driver fatigue or violations of federal trucking regulations. This information could support the pursuit of compensation for medical bills and other losses.

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