Ohio motorists should be aware of potential large truck dangers

Tractor trailer accidents are on the rise, and drivers should understand how to navigate safely around these large vehicles.

Motorists traveling along Ohio highways may be used to sharing the road with tractor trailers on a daily basis. Many drivers, however, may be unaware of the hazards associated with navigating alongside these massive vehicles. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The overpowering weight, height and length of tractor trailers can lead to devastating accidents, injuries and even deaths. Motorists should be aware of how to drive safely around large trucks in order to avoid becoming involved in a serious truck accident.

Fatality facts

Since 2009, the U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people killed in large truck accidents each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that the death toll rose from 3,211 large truck accident fatalities in 2009 to 3,906 deaths in 2013. Ohio has also seen an increase in the tractor trailer death rate from 113 deaths in 2011 to 151 deaths in 2013. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration attempted to decrease this death rate by mandating truck driver resting periods and limiting the amount of time truckers can spend behind the wheel. Yet, a surprising number of truckers and trucking companies violate these restrictions in order to meet strict deadlines and move more freight.

Common causes of truck accidents

There are several factors that can lead to big rig collisions, according to State Farm. These include:

• Truck drivers who are distracted, drowsy or intoxicated have an increased chance of causing a serious accident.

• Negligent driving in bad weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, fog and wind can cause a truck to jack-knife or tip over.

• Trucks that are not properly loaded or have an uneven weight distribution may be prone to sliding or tipping over.

• Truckers who speed through high-traffic conditions may have trouble yielding or stopping for other motorists.

• Trucks may experience equipment malfunction if they have not been properly maintained.

Truck drivers who are permitted to operate a tractor trailer despite having driving violations or untrained truckers create a hazard for other motorists on the road.

What to do after a truck accident

People who have been involved in a truck accident may be left wondering where to turn next. You may have significant property damage and serious injuries as a result of the catastrophic collision. You may want to explore your legal options by speaking with a personal injury attorney in Ohio who understands how to handle these types of cases.