Trucks are often touted as the kings and queens of the road. It’s not surprising for them to gain that title, given their size advantage. And surely, you’ve tried being on the road too, and then, later on, moving to avoid a big truck. There’s that impending fear of being sandwiched between two giants or being run over by one. One of the most common truck accidents caused is Overloaded Tractor-Trailer Trucks. This type of accident can happen when the amount of cargo exceeds the maximum allowable weight. The driver may not be aware that he or she is driving over the maximum weight or may not know how to calculate the safe weight limit for their vehicle. They may also be unaware that they are exceeding the legal limits because they have already been issued a permit from their state to exceed those limits.
Other than the size, speed and driver’s conditions can also contribute to the likelihood of a truck accident. Some accidents are only minor, while some are big and often life-threatening. When an emergency does happen, it pays to know what to do, so you’re always prepared. If you’re lucky, only property damage occurs, a problem easily remedied by Royans truck repairs, among other repair shops. In severe cases, however, damage to life may ensue.
Often, the aftermath of an accident can be better when you react to it the right way. Likewise, reading essential information about truck accidents for your awareness can help you big time.
After going through this comprehensive guide, you’ll have a good bird’s eye view of everything you need to learn about truck accidents, with a core focus on the things you must do after one happens.
What To Do Right After A Truck Accident
The first few minutes right after a truck accident are crucial. You must react immediately and rightfully to avoid making the situation even more severe. Let’s jump into a step-by-step list of what to do after a truck accident to minimize the damage and loss of property or life.
- Move To Safety
One of the first things you must do is move to the side of the road to avoid causing any further injuries than you’ve already sustained. You have to do this to prevent other vehicles that aren’t aware that an accident has happened from being careless while passing through the accident area. It is even more important to do it at night or during bad weather conditions when visibility may be poor.
Take note, however, that this isn’t an absolute requirement. If moving from the wreck only causes more harm than good, stay and wait for the paramedics to come. Safety is crucial, so make that a top priority.
If possible, also put out accident warnings, like reflectorized warning triangles. Most laws require trucks to carry those warning signs, so put them on the road if you have them. They’re good enough to alert other oncoming motorists that non-moving vehicles are stuck on the road due to an accident.
- Call The Police
Before calling family and friends, the first ones you have to ring are the police officers and medics or emergency services. Once they arrive on the scene and see the need for it, the emergency services officials will call firefighters as well.
When you call for emergency services, give an accurate account of how many individuals are on the scene. That way, they can also send the correct number of medics to respond to the victims. No time is wasted calling for more responders after they arrive and seeing that more emergency health workers are needed.
Along that line, be sure not to tamper with any crucial evidence before the police arrive. The best you can do is to wait for the police to take photos and make an account of what transpired before you get the go-signal to leave or go to the hospital.
No matter how minor the accident may be, it’s a must to have police records. Remember that you need that documentation as evidence should you have to go to court to fight for legal rights after the truck accident.
- Turn On Your Hazard Lights
If the accident happened at night or during a condition where the weather visibility is poor, keep your hazard lights on. It is also a must when you can’t move the vehicles to safety yet, in situations when it’s too dangerous to do so, or when the police officers haven’t arrived yet.
It may be simple, but it can guarantee your safety. Your car’s hazard lights help warn other incoming vehicles that an accident has happened, and there are still vehicles in the middle of the road.
- Seek Medical Treatment
When necessary, follow the medic’s instructions or advice to seek medical treatment ASAP. Life is always more important than property. Even if you think you don’t have physical injuries, only a doctor’s assessment can help you determine whether or not you’re indeed safe. You must take note that injuries aren’t always immediately apparent, and they’re not always physical.
Don’t put off seeking medical treatment until you’ve already reached the court of law to challenge your claim. If you’re a victim, the negligent party is legally obligated to compensate you for all the damages you’ve incurred. You must also show that you’ve sustained injuries that require medical attention because of the accident. The best proof of that is your doctor’s certification and hospital bill.
- Offer Help To Others
If you’re unscathed and have the physical and mental ability to help other victims who may have more severe injuries, give that helping hand. Most victims will be in shock and panic, wherein they’ll need some warmth and comfort.
Even if you’re not a medical professional, you can always lend a helping hand with the help of medics. The more individuals proactively help each other, the faster the accident can be cleared off the road, the more victims may be saved, and less damage may be recorded.
- Document All The Evidence
The police officers will make their record of evidence at the scene. Sure, you can count on them to do their job accurately and in the most detailed manner possible. After all, those police officers have the legal obligation to do what they need.
However, if you’re a victim, it’s also a prudent move to have your account of the accident. Take pictures and take notes. When all is safe, you can also go to each individual involved and ask for their name and contact details. If they don’t want to give it to you, take photos of the notes the police officer has made.
Truck accidents can be very stressful situations. Don’t rely on your memory to recall every single detail that happened. Otherwise, you may forget pertinent details, which can be crucial to strengthening your case. Written notes are always best, so you can also give your lawyer a detailed and accurate account of the events that transpired before and after the accident.
- Don’t Sign Anything If You’re Unsure
Never sign anything without asking your lawyer about it when on the scene. If you do, you may have just put yourself in a situation that impairs your ability to file a case against the negligent driver.
For instance, the negligent driver may immediately call their insurance provider to reach out to those involved in the crash and offer a settlement. In many cases, that settlement amount may be lower than what you’re entitled to receive had you fought for your case in court.
What To Do To Prevent A Truck Accident
Now that you’re aware of what to do after a truck accident happens, it’s important to close with some prevention tips. As for your health, prevention is better than cure, so it’s best to be proactive. It’s great to be equipped with insights on what to do after an accident, but it’s even better to focus on how to prevent one.
Here are some tips to remember:
- Get To Know The Common Causes Of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Knowing what those serve as a reminder to avoid committing any of those causes. The best tip is always to be a defensive driver so you can prevent a truck accident from happening in the first place.
To that end, those common causes include:
- Careless or reckless driving;
- Over speeding;
- Driving impairment due to illness, fatigue, and alcohol;
- Failure to yield to the proper right of way;
- Distraction or inattention.
When you can avoid these things, you can ensure you’re safe on the road. Also, it will help keep other drivers safe.
- Allow More Space Between You And The Truck
When you’re following a truck, you’ll want to be farther behind than you usually would when following a car. The reason behind this is that trucks are bigger and; thereby, have more blind spots.
If you accidentally step on the accelerator instead of the brakes, you may be squished under the truck. Another scenario is that if the vehicle has to go backward, they may not see you. Or, if a fast-approaching car behind you hits your rear, you have a safe distance away from the truck before hitting it.
This rule on leaving space between you and the truck should also apply when you’re trying to pass by one. If the space is too tight, then avoid overtaking a truck. Don’t cut lanes in front of a truck as well.
- Don’t Drink And Drive
Regardless of what vehicle it is you’re driving, don’t drink and drive. Even if the distance you’ll be travelling is short, don’t risk it. Your ability to respond fast to an accident may be hampered, so you wouldn’t want that to affect your judgment when driving.
- Rest If You’re Tired
Driver fatigue is another common cause of truck accidents. If you’re a truck driver, rest when you feel tired. Avoid driving if you’re too tired to focus on the road. Some truckers may be working overly long hours, where they aren’t able to rest. Drowsy driving has serious and potentially deadly consequences.
Because driver fatigue is one of the most well-known causes of truck accidents, many state and federal laws now have driver working hours regulations to limit the time drivers can work on any given day. Truck drivers and operators should abide by those laws not just to avoid an accident but also to avoid any legal consequences.
- Avoid Swerving
Even on a non-busy highway, avoid swerving from one side of the road to another. If you can stay on just one lane the whole time, stay on that lane. Weaving in and out of traffic can cause vehicular accidents as it confuses other drivers behind you where you’re heading next.
If you have to move to another lane, keep your signal light on before making that move. It will make it easy for vehicles around you to anticipate how they can safely move past you without colliding with your car.
- Follow The Speed Limits
As briefly explained in one of the tips in this list, over speeding is one of the leading causes of truck accidents (or any vehicular accident, for that matter). Even when you’re in a rush, always follow the speed limits. They’re there for a reason, especially on roads labeled as high-risk or accident-prone areas.
The faster your vehicle speed is, the less control you’ll have over the vehicle. This fact intensifies the likelihood of having an accident. Over speeding doesn’t just cause damage to the car itself, but it also increases the risk of getting killed in a truck accident.
- Be Careful Where You Pull Over
Not all truck accidents are caused by truck drivers. Some are actually because of other vehicle drivers. One of those instances happens when other vehicle drivers pull over in the wrong place on the highway.
There are designated pullover spots on highways, so you must follow those. A passing truck speeding up may side-sweep that smaller car simply because that other vehicle has pulled over in the wrong spot.
- Avoid Distracted Driving
Drivers nowadays have so many distractions. Some common distractions are talking on the phone, texting, listening to loud music, fighting, and even eating while driving. Even a few seconds of looking at your phone can put the driver at a high risk of an accident.
If that call has to be made, or if you’re starving and want to grab a bite, pull over at the designated spots where you can safely do so. Don’t be in a rush to arrive while risking your safety due to multi-tasking.
So many things can happen right after a truck accident. And, given the gravity of the situation, it’s no doubt that your adrenaline rush or panic may set in first. If you let those feelings get the best of you, it may hamper your ability to think clearly about how to react. By avoiding some of the most common mistakes after a car accident, you may be able to protect your legal rights and your guide. The informative article above helps, notwithstanding how consulting a lawyer will always be your best recourse.