Sharing the road with big rigs in Suffolk County

Residents of Suffolk County are aware that traffic can certainly be frustrating at times. This includes maneuvering around those large semi tractor-trailers that pose a threat to many drivers along Massachusetts highways. Poor weather, heavy loads, toxic contents, distracted truck drivers and speeding can all lead to catastrophe when it comes to car accidents involving big trucks.

In fact, from 2010 to 2012 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an 8.7 percent rise in the number of fatalities involving large trucks across the United States. Although Massachusetts Department of Transportation is working hard in conjunction with state government officials to remedy this problem, it is vital that drivers be aware of the potential dangers that exist when driving around semi-trailers and other large trucks.

Developing a plan for safety

The Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan was designed in accordance with the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users in attempts to reduce serious highway fatalities. Formulated in 2006 and recently revised in June of 2013, the SHSP has outlined a strategic plan for controlling highway collisions. Massachusetts specifically has seen a dramatic 19 percent reduction in highway fatalities since 2006, including those involving large semi-trailers, partly due to this cumulative plan with a 7.6 percent reduction between 2009 and 2010.

Tips for driving safely around semi-trucks

Since most drivers share the road with semi-trucks on a regular basis, it is important to practice some simple safety tips to reduce risk. The following tips are recommended by the NHTSA:

  • Use caution when passing trucks. Always maintain your speed when passing a semi-truck, and be sure to pass on their left side to increase visibility.
  • Avoid driving in any blind spots the truck driver may have. Make sure that the driver can see your car in their mirrors at all times.
  • Never cut off a truck. Even in heavy traffic conditions, it is important to give a three second signal before merging in front of a truck. Keep in mind that due to their large size and heavy load, it is harder for them to stop.
  • Be careful for trucks that are swinging wide. If you notice a truck is making a wide turn, keep back until they are finished.
  • Pay extra close attention to your surroundings when driving around trucks.

Dealing with a semi-trailer collision

If you or someone you know has been involved in a semi tractor-trailer accident, it is important to know all of your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical injuries, property damage, lost wages from work, as well as any pain and suffering you have incurred. To maximize your benefits, you may wish to consult with an attorney who has experience in dealing with large truck collisions.