You have certainly heard that you should “follow the rules of the road” to keep yourself and other drivers safe on the road. Commercial trucks are large vehicles that require more skill to drive than regular vehicles. Truck drivers should act like professionals when driving these commercial vehicles to ensure the safety of those around them. As truck accident attorneys, we see countless accidents throughout Missouri and Illinois that could have been prevented if all drivers were aware of common truck driving rules of the road.
Today, we are sharing four truck driving rules that require your attention in order to prevent a catastrophic trucking accident.
1. Recognize Oversized Cargo Warnings.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s truck driving rules, warning flags must be used on commercial trucks when loads extend over the sides or behind the vehicle. For example, if a truck is carrying a piece of wood or steel that extends past its truck bed, it must have a red, orange fluorescent or yellow flag affixed to the end of the material.
If you are driving near a truck with oversized cargo, make sure to follow at a proper distance since this load is likely heavier and will make stopping much slower for the trucks pulling the cargo.
2. See on the Shoulder, Merge Over.
Just like any car, trucks may need to pull over on the side of a road or major highway due to mechanical problems or emergency situations. While addressing an emergency situation, a truck driver must turn on emergency flashers and put out warning devices such as orange triangles or flares. If you see these warning devices on the road near a tractor trailer, make sure you merge over to give the truck room to address the mechanical issues or emergency situation.
3. Slow Your Speed.
Oftentimes, trucking related accidents are caused by trucks or passenger vehicles driving too fast. Not only is speeding against the law, but it may also lead to serious personal injuries or even death if an accident occurs. There are three main reasons why speeding causes accidents, and they include:
- Driving too fast for conditions. Drivers should not travel at a speed that is unreasonable for safe driving with current road and weather conditions. This means drivers must slow down if there is inclement weather, construction work or other situations where traffic is slowed.
- Turning too sharply on curved roads. A truck pulling a trailer must slow down on a curve since the trailer has a higher center of gravity. If you do not reduce your speed while driving a truck, you have a greater chance of causing a jackknife or rollover accident.
- Lack of awareness at interchanges and exit ramps. Interchanges and ramps often have large curves or rapid stops. Truck drivers and passenger car drivers alike must give the proper spacing between vehicles, take their time while turning and slow down earlier before arriving at an exit ramp or stoplight.
4. Take Your Required Rest.
According to FMCSA, truck drivers are required to follow certain hours-of-service (HOS) limitations. Property-carrying vehicles such as large commercial trucks may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. If a driver does not abide by these truck driving rules, they may be at a higher risk for causing an accident due to driving while fatigued, falling asleep at the wheel or other forms of distracted driving.
Know the Rules of the Road
As Missouri and Illinois truck accident attorneys, we see the lasting effects a trucking accident can have on everyday drivers, truckers and their families throughout the region. Taking care and exercising proper safety measures while driving could be the difference between a safe drive home or a catastrophic injury.
Whether you are a victim of a truck driving accident or a family member seeking justice after the loss of a loved one, we are here to help you get back on the road to recovery. Contact the attorneys at MHM for a free consultation to begin building your case.