Driver safety technology is evolving, and automakers and trucking companies are paying attention. By installing features like anti-lock brakes, lane drift warnings, blind spot detection, and other safety applications, cars and 18-wheelers should be getting safer. Unfortunately, fatalities continue to occur at an alarming rate on our nation’s roads and highways. In Oklahoma and throughout the United States, about 4,000 people lost their lives in accidents with trucks in 2016. This is a 27% jump from an all-time low in 2009.
There tends to be a slight rise in car accidents on the weekends, which seems logical, but there’s actually an interesting trend with trucking accidents. Accidents involving big rigs happen most often on Thursdays. The industry calls this effect “Fatal Thursdays.” You might wonder, why Thursdays? Why not weekends, like cars, when there are more vehicles on the road?
Several factors contribute to the Fatal Thursday phenomenon.
Truck drivers are less likely to be on the road on the weekends. They move the most freight during the beginning of the week and wind down their hauling around Thursday or so. At this point in the week, drivers may be fatigued, pushing themselves to get home, and might be less alert to traffic conditions around them. They might overlook an important detail or maintenance check. On the same note, Fridays are the second-highest day for truck accidents.
Unsurprisingly, because there are less truckers on the road on the weekends, they’re also less likely to be out there driving impaired or intoxicated.
Driving safely around trucks
It’s crucial for truck drivers to stay alert around smaller vehicles on the road. But it’s just as important for others to drive cautiously around 18-wheelers. In driver training we’re typically taught a lot about how to share the road with other vehicles, but we’re not taught a lot about sharing the road with trucks and big rigs. With some safe driving skills of your own, it’s possible to avoid being a Fatal Thursday statistic.
- Don’t cut off a truck or stop suddenly in front of one. Large and heavy vehicles like an 18-wheeler need more braking room than you think, and cutting one off can result in a tragic accident.
- Stay out of a truck’s blind spots. If you can’t see a truck’s side mirror, the driver can’t see you. Don’t drive in that blind spot for any longer than necessary—pass it quickly or slow down so you stay in sight of the driver.
- The same rules apply for passing a truck. Pass quickly and don’t linger in any blind spots. Make sure there’s a lot of room in front of the truck when get past.
- Keep in mind that trucks make very wide turns. They swing wide, which might make you think you can slide up next to them. Never do this, as the truck may not see you and hit you from the side. Let the truck turn first and give it plenty of room.
The truck accident lawyers at Cunningham & Mears help victims of accidents with 18-wheelers and big rigs. We fight for compensation and damages for medical bills and pain and suffering. We’re here to help the people of Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. For a free consultation at our offices, call 405-232-1212 or fill out our contact form today.
Marcus P. Mears is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Mears is committed to helping Oklahoma’s injured victims in the areas of injury law and insurance litigation. Mr. Mears was selected to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for his work as lead counsel in multiple seven figure injury cases. Learn More