Portland sits at the crossroads of several major highways and interstates. Residents routinely travel on major freeways to get to destinations throughout the state. Motorists can expect to encounter semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other big rigs on these trips. To reduce your chances of truck accidents, it is important to be aware of the dangers and to practice some simple safety tips.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents In Oregon
A recent semi-truck accident on Interstate 5 near Wilsonville emphasizes the dangers motorists face when sharing the road with truckers on major freeways. According to a February 20, 2020 news report by Oregon Live, the truck accident occurred when the driver, who was headed southbound, suddenly crossed into the northbound lanes. Police are still investigating the causes, but numerous drivers were injured in collisions that occurred as a result.
Statistics from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) indicate more than 5,000 motorists are involved in truck accidents each year, resulting in serious and often life-threatening injuries. These crashes are common on highways and interstates, which typically see heavy amounts of truck traffic. Among the leading causes include:
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
- Failure to yield, tailgating, improper passing, and other aggressive driving behaviors;
- Distracted driving, such as using cellphones or texting;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Drowsy driving and falling asleep behind the wheel.
Protect Yourself Against Truck Accidents on Oregon Freeways
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) warns motorists that the massive size and bulk of most big rigs limit the driver’s visibility, navigation, and the ability to stop due to sudden changes in traffic. On major freeways and interstates, this makes truck accidents more likely to occur. To protect themselves, drivers are encouraged to follow these tips:
1. Stay out of truck blind spots: Known as ‘no-zones’, these extend far in the front, back, and along each side of the truck, causing other motorists to disappear from view.
2. Use caution when passing: Only pass a truck going uphill, never down where they are more likely to have problems braking. Signal before getting back into the lane and provide plenty of space.
3. Avoid cutting off truckers: When entering a freeway or switching lanes in front of a truck, avoid cutting it too close. Trucks take 40 percent longer to stop than other vehicles.
4. Avoid tailgating: In addition to putting you at risk for dangerous underride accidents, tailgating a trucker increases your risks of being struck by flying objects or debris.
5. Avoid boxing in a truck: When turning for exits or going around curves in the road, be aware that truckers require additional space to navigate. These are areas where rollover truck accidents are most likely to occur. Being directly alongside them increases your risks.
Let Us Help You Today
Despite these precautions, truck accidents can still happen. When they do, the Johnston Law Firm P.C. helps you get the compensation you need to recover. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Oregon truck accident attorneys online today.