Many of us drive alongside large commercial trucks every day. A surprising number of people carry assumptions about what it’s like to drive a semi-truck, but most of these beliefs are mistaken, based on things we might have seen or heard at some point. However, commercial motor vehicles are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal truck accidents in the United States. Dispelling the most common myths about driving near large trucks is one step toward making us safer.
Myth #1 – Large Mirrors Increase Visibility for Truckers
Commercial trucks are typically several times longer, taller, and bulkier than standard passenger vehicles and lack traditional rearview mirrors due to their trailers. As a result, truck drivers must contend with huge blind spots that can easily hide smaller vehicles from their view. Modern trucks are equipped with large mirrors to compensate for these blind spots.
Despite their appearance, large mirrors do not give truckers better visibility than other drivers. They are there to compensate for the substantial blind spots, but even the largest mirror will not show 100 percent of what is happening outside the cab. If you cannot see the truck driver in a truck’s mirrors, always assume the truck driver cannot see you.
Myth #2 – Truck Drivers are Less Likely to Crash Than Other Drivers
Commercial drivers must undergo intensive training and obtain special licenses to drive such massive vehicles. As a result, many people assume that all truckers are expert drivers. While many truck drivers are seasoned professionals, a commercial license does not automatically make someone a driving ace.
Like any driver, a truck driver can cause a traffic accident if they are careless or reckless behind the wheel. And truckers have more opportunities for error than most motorists because they spend so much time on the road. When they speed, tailgate, or become distracted, they can cause an accident just like anyone else.
Myth #3 – Truck Drivers can Operate on Minimal or no Sleep Because They are Used to It
Many truck drivers work long shifts and odd hours, so there is a common misconception that a lack of sleep does not affect them like everyone else. In reality, a trucker is just as likely to become dangerously tired without adequate rest.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict hours-of-service (HOS) limits on commercial drivers to prevent drowsy driving truck accidents. However, these rules can and do get broken, and even a driver who abides by them can become sleepy during long-haul trips.
Myth #4 – Trucking Companies Emphasize and Encourage Safety
In a perfect world, trucking companies would prioritize safety over money every time. But sometimes, the opposite can be true. Some trucking companies have been found to cut corners on safety to save time and maximize profits.
A common example of trucking companies choosing profits over safety occurs when employers put explicit or implied pressure on drivers to meet impossible deadlines. If a truck driver violates HOS regulations to meet their performance requirements, the trucking company may be liable for a subsequent accident.
Hurt? Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Utah
If you sustained injuries in a collision with a semi-truck, the trusted legal team at Swenson & Shelley can answer your legal questions and review your case during a free consultation. Call or contact us now.