Traffic is something that South Floridians must deal with every day. With so much traffic, accidents are bound to happen. For the past couple of years, many of those accidents and fatalities on the road have involved semi-trucks. Florida holds the No. 3 spot in the entire nation for the most traffic fatalities involving semi-trucks, following only California and Texas. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety, Florida’s average for crashes and deaths due to semi-truck drivers is three times higher than the national average.
There are different reasons why so many fatal crashes on South Florida highways involve truckers. Here, we’ll explore those reasons and discuss how to avoid accidents with a semi-truck.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), crashes involving semi-trucks and large trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds have increased by the thousands year after year. In 2014, a reported 23,515 crashes with semis occurred, then spiked to 32,513 in 2018. In South Florida, especially, these fatal crashes are all too frequent.
Interstate 95, which runs between Miami-Dade to Broward County, faces a high number of crashes compared to the rest of Florida. Data from the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System estimated that 1.73 fatal accidents occur per mile between Miami’s Exit 1A to Broward County’s Exit 42 to Deerfield Beach. One contribution to these accidents is that passenger vehicles fail to share the road effectively with semi-trucks, but there are others that also pose a severe risk.
Foreign objects in the road often cause drivers to swerve and make unpredictable avoidance maneuvers. That’s contributed to about 17 fatalities a year on Florida highways. Road debris is anything on the highway that shouldn’t be there, such as scraps from blown tires or cargo that falls off a vehicle while traveling on the road. Many of these crashes are avoidable if drivers take extra care to ensure their load is sufficiently tied down. When it comes to crashes involving road debris, it can be challenging to determine who is liable because it’s not always apparent who the negligent driver was. Every situation is different, however, so speak with an expert car accident attorney.
Semi-trucks take considerably longer to break for traffic than passenger vehicles do. It’s essential that other drivers on the road are aware of this and give trucks plenty of space and avoid cutting into their lane. When you see a semi-truck behind you, try to switch to the next lane over to give yourself and the semi more space.
In South Florida, congested highways are a part of the daily commute. This stop and go traffic makes it difficult for a semi-18-wheeler truck to completely stop before rear-ending the vehicle in front of them if there’s not enough space. When you’re on the road, be aware of this and allow semi-trucks the space they need and avoid changing lanes in front of them.
The size alone of a semi-truck requires training and an exclusive license to operate one. An 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds; compared to a passenger vehicle that typically weighs around 3,500 pounds, any collision with a semi is likely fatal for the passenger vehicle.
Due to the length of semi-trucks, it can be difficult for truck drivers to see passenger cars that are driving next to them. Semi-trucks have blind spots on both sides of their truck and directly in the front. If you can’t see the truck driver’s mirrors, they can’t see you. To practice safe driving, keep your blinker on for 10 seconds when changing lanes near a semi-truck, and never try to pass an 18-wheeler by swerving in front of them quickly. Following these practices will help to ensure you and the truck drivers that you share the road with stay safe.
An accident that involves a semi-truck is a terrifying experience. Victims usually suffer substantial injuries to the body and traumatic mental stress that can make driving again difficult. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, call the professional truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff. With more than 48 years of combined legal experience, they are committed to getting their clients the results and maximum compensation they deserve.