Every day, Chicago roadways are full of large semi-trucks hauling goods from one place to the next. With Chicago traffic often congested, it’s not always easy to avoid an accident. Yet when it comes to accidents with large trucks, every driver can benefit from trying to avoid one. Because a loaded semi-truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, any truck accident a driver is in can not only cause a lot of vehicle damage, but seriously hurt someone in regular vehicle.

In 2018, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,136 people died in accidents involving semi-trucks. That’s a 31% jump from 2009.

Causes for large truck accidents

Some of the most common causes for large truck accidents include the following:

  • Drivers not obeying the speed limit
  • Distracted drivers (both of passenger vehicles and semi drivers)
  • Drivers not giving trucks enough braking distance between their vehicle and a semi
  • Truck driver fatigue (truck drivers often put in at least 11-hour shifts)
  • Poor truck maintenance or equipment failure
  • Improper cargo loading

How to share the road with trucks

If you encounter a semi-truck while on the road, you can try to avoid a truck accident by following these tips:

  • Always pass on the left side of the truck and pass quickly.
  • Be cautious. Never spend a lot of time closely following a semi or near it in an adjacent lane. Semi-trucks have large blind spots and a driver may not see you before trying to change lanes. If you tailgate a large truck, you can end up running into it if the truck stops suddenly.
  • Don’t use your phone behind the wheel, ever. If you are texting, you can be distracted for up to five seconds, plenty of time to end up in a devastating crash.
  • Avoid stopping unexpectedly as much as possible. Semi-trucks require more space to stop before hitting a vehicle in front of them. If you need to stop suddenly, slow down first, put on your hazard lights and try to pull over to an off-shoulder area or a freeway exit.

By following these safety tips, you are more likely to avoid an accident with a semi-truck. If you do end up injured because of a truck accident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.