This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for 18-wheeler truck injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by 18-wheeler accidents.
One of the best pieces of advice that a motorist can heed is to avoid suddenly pulling in front of an 18-wheeler at a slower speed than the truck is traveling. Commercial trucks measure over 70 feet long, on average. Big rigs, with a full load, can weigh up to about 80,000 pounds. It can take the length of three football fields for a fully-loaded 18-wheeler to come to a full stop. Avoiding this situation is easier said than done because trucks, by law, are usually required to stay in the far right lane, where most merging occurs. To avoid a potentially deadly crash with 18-wheelers, either go fast enough to get well in front of them when merging or slow down enough to pull in behind them.
Unstable Truck Tires
It’s not uncommon for trucking companies to re-tread tires, in order to get the maximum mileage from each tire. Re-treading involves gluing a strip of new tire to the old one. The danger is that re-treads come off, either entirely or in pieces. Even a medium-sized strip of re-tread tire that comes off at 65 miles per hour could cause serious injury and is even capable of causing decapitation. It’s best to stay clear of 18-wheelers because of the potential for tire problems alone.
Read more about how to safely share Texas roads with 18-wheelers in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this ongoing series.
Sharing the road with massive 18-wheelers is not the same as sharing it with other cars and trucks. There are many dangers created by truckers and trucking companies which don’t adhere to regulations.
The mandatory guidelines for truckers apply, for instance, to the length, width, and height of a load. In addition, loads must be properly secured with restraints.
If objects on a truck are not secured properly, the results can be deadly. When big rigs are traveling at high speeds and debris falls onto other vehicles, the truck driver may not even be aware. In the meantime, the debris can and does cause fatalities.
There are regulations which give specific guidelines about how many hours in a set period truck drivers can be on the road. Research has shown that, because of the competitiveness of the industry, few companies strictly adhere to the rules which are intended to prevent driver fatigue. When a person drives while feeling sleepy, it’s about as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Motorists should always keep in mind that some 18-wheeler drivers on the road are sleep-deprived and could pose a danger.
Read more about how to safely share Texas roads with 18-wheelers in Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series.
In news out of San Antonio, Texas, in February an 18-wheeler driver crashed on Interstate 10 at Ralph Fair Road in northwest Bexar County. It was just before 3:00 a.m. when sheriff’s deputies responded to the fiery scene.
Paul Berry, Bexar County Sheriff’s spokesman, said that a deputy who had been patrolling I10 heard the crash and saw the resulting explosion. The deputy immediately went to the scene for the purpose of trying to rescue the driver but he was unable to get to the cab because it was already engulfed and the flames were too high.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash. Deputies believe that what most likely happened is that the driver fell asleep while driving. The tanker truck hit a guardrail and bounced back and forth from the inside to the outside lanes and then finally rolled on its side at an embankment and burst into flames.
The tanker truck hauls crude oil, but it was empty at the time of the fatal crash. If there had been oil in the tanker, deputies said, the explosion would have been much larger and the potential for causing more damage on the scene would have been much greater.
The 18-wheeler driver was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
In an attempt to reduce crashes and fatalities caused by falling asleep at the wheel, federal regulations provide mandatory guidelines for how many hours truckers can be on the road. Research proves, however, that it’s not unusual for truckers to drive longer hours than permitted by law.
Are you aware that one of the hazards of driving on Texas roads is sharing the roads with 18-wheelers? Over 3,000 traffic-related fatalities typically occur in Texas annually, and a large percentage of those fatal crashes involve a big rig. When a car or truck collides with an 18-wheeler, it’s not uncommon for the big rig driver to be unharmed but for someone to be killed or seriously injured in the other vehicle. The following is more advice for staying safe while sharing the road with 18-wheelers.
In Texas, drivers must move over to the left in order to give the police and emergency vehicles room to safely maneuver. The law does not apply to non-emergency vehicles, however. If you are beside the road with engine problems or a flat tire, beware of big rigs driving by at high rates of speed.
Big rigs create two types of powerful drafts, one that pushes and one that pulls. An 18-wheeler could create a draft that literally pulls you under its tires. It could also push you into something or over a guardrail.
Another danger created by the drafts caused by big rigs is that debris is picked up and can break your windshield or hit you with a dangerous amount of force, if you’re beside the road.
Read more about how to safely share Texas roads with 18-wheelers in Part 1 and this ongoing series.