Commercial drivers and large trucks make up the backbone of the American shipping industry. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, tractor-trailers are racking up hundreds of millions of miles on U.S. highways. With 75% of the cargo in Georgia being moved by trucks, the state is most certainly no exception.
Between all of the private and commercial vehicles on Georgia’s roads, Atlanta has become the 4th most congested urban area in the entire United States. As traffic across the state continues to increase, efforts are being made to relieve some of the congestion caused by large vehicles, but the Georgia Department Of Transportation (GDOT) predicts that overall traffic will actually double by 2040. Every day there is more traffic—and more large commercial trucks—on roadways throughout Georgia.
As the traffic on Georgia’s roads and highways grows, so does the danger. According to reports released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1504 fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents across Georgia in 2018. That number is down, but only slightly, from 2017 when there were 1540 deaths. Out of those 1504 fatalities, 187 occurred in accidents involving a large truck, or about 12.5%.
Sadly, if traffic is expected to double in the coming years, we have to assume that the number of accidents and deaths on the roads will continue to go up as well.
The Impact Of Commercial Drivers On Georgia Roadways
Commercial drivers and tractor-trailers provide a crucial service that feeds every other industry in our state—not to mention carrying the food that feeds us. From the outside, being a commercial driver behind the wheel of a semi might look easy, but there’s a lot more to it than just listening to the radio and cruising from one place to another.
Commercial drivers spend long hours on the road, sometimes more than most people spend at a more common nine to five job. The vehicles they drive require special skills to operate. They have to be more alert and more aware of possible dangers than the average motorist. They must be prepared for constant changes in road and weather conditions. They do their jobs always with the thought in the back of their minds that a small mistake could lead to catastrophe.
Large commercial trucks and tractor-trailers pose a special danger to motorists in passenger vehicles for several reasons:
- Whereas the average automobile might weigh two to three tons, a fully loaded semi-truck can weigh upwards of 40 tons. Compared to a car, they require significantly more time and space to slow down and come to a full stop.
- Because of the length and height of most trailers, large trucks are also susceptible to problems caused by high winds. A hard-blowing wind that hits the side of the trailer can push the entire vehicle in one direction or another, making it hard to control.
- There are obvious differences in the visibility and blind spots around a large vehicle. Commercial drivers not only have to deal with the added length of their trucks, but they also sit much higher compared to a common passenger car. There is much more space around them for smaller vehicles to move into blind spots where they become temporarily invisible.
4 Ways Commercial Drivers Can Improve Roadway Safety
To coexist safely on the roads and highways, it’s important that both private and commercial drivers do their part to reduce the dangers that we all face when we get behind the wheel. The following are four safety suggestions that will reduce the risks associated with large trucks.
Secure And Cover Your Load
Most drivers don’t need to be reminded about how important it is to make sure that a load is completely secure before heading out on the road. It’s all too common, however, to see large trucks and trailers carrying all sorts of uncovered materials that can potentially damage the vehicles around them on the highway.
It’s not just trailers full of gravel that damage paint and crack windshields. If you’re carrying anything that could potentially throw debris on the road behind you, take the extra few minutes and cover your load before you leave.
Be Aware Of The Weather
With smartphones, there’s just no excuse for not checking the weather before you head out and even throughout the day. Heavy rains, for example, can appear suddenly in Georgia during the spring and summer months. Make sure that you and your truck are both fully prepared for the workday (or night) ahead.
Don’t Allow Distractions
Speaking of smartphones, if you’re going to use your phone, do it while you’re stopped at a rest area or refueling. Talking on a cell phone or texting while driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents and deaths across the country. Don’t tempt fate. Wait a few minutes and pull over if there’s something important you need to call or text about.
Maintain Your Health
Especially on the road, where you’re surrounded by fast food and unhealthy snacks, it’s important to pay attention to your health. If you’re not getting any exercise and always eating junk food, it’s going to take a toll on you. You’ll have much less energy and much more trouble staying alert and concentrating while you’re driving.
Try to eat well. Get at least some moderate exercise, and make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Drowsy driving is right up there on top of the list of reasons for accidents, too.
Contact An Atlanta Commercial Drivers Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a commercial driver accident, you should speak with a qualified and experienced accident injury attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable Atlanta personal injury lawyer will be able to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled to help pay for lost wages, medical bills, prescriptions, and your pain and suffering.
At Greathouse Trial Law, our team of personal injury lawyers has the knowledge, expertise, and experience that you’ll want behind you. We believe it is imperative that your rights are protected during a time of pain and that you shouldn’t have to endure the extra stress caused by worrying about lost income and mounting medical expenses. Let us handle all of the legal hassles while you concentrate on getting healthy and back to your life.
A consultation is free and confidential. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your personal injury claim and discuss exactly what we can do to help you. You can contact us at any time online or call (678) 310-2827 to schedule an appointment.