Semi-trucks populate the nation’s highways, and other vehicles have no choice but to share the road with them. When accidents, such as sideswipes, happen with these big rigs, the consequences can be much more severe because of their size. Sideswipe accidents occur when a vehicle collides with another that is traveling alongside of it, hitting its side. They mainly fall into two categories: opposite-direction and same-direction sideswipes.
In an opposite direction sideswipe, two vehicles pass each other going the opposite way on a road. If either vehicle crosses over the center line, there could be a sideswipe. This is less common than front or angular crashes in these situations. A same direction sideswipe can occur when the two are driving in the same direction, and one enters the other’s lane. This can be unintentional, or it can be caused by reckless driving.
Since semi-trucks are wide and long, their drivers must pay extra attention to their blind spots. Even if they do not see a car, it may be there. It is important to check the rear-view mirrors several times before changing lanes. Many trucks have warning stickers to alert drivers to avoid tailgating, since they need a big radius for turning.
Many sideswipes are also caused by inappropriate merging. If a truck enters or leaves a highway too fast without checking their blind spots, the risk of an accident increases. This is also true if the trucker does this while trying to merge into another lane. Other reasons for these collisions include high winds and tire blowouts.
Sideswipes usually happen quickly and without warning, but keeping a level head can prevent serious consequences. The driver of the second vehicle should try to gain control of their vehicle. Holding the wheel steady is better than hastily turning it either way, which could make things worse. It is best to slow down carefully and pull over to a safe spot. As soon as this is accomplished, the next thing to do is to call 911.
Once medical needs are attended to, the second driver should record any evidence that could show that the trucker caused the crash. This includes photographs of the vehicles and crash scene, witness testimony, and police reports. In some cases, the trucking company that owns the semi may try to blame the other driver for the collision by proving that someone else was at fault, to avoid any liability. It is also possible that both drivers contributed to the incident, which means that they could both be partially at fault.
The best way to avoid sideswipes with semi-trucks is to stay far away from them, but this is not always possible. When it is necessary to pass, it should always be done on the left, with plenty of room for passing and when pulling out in front. Cutting off a semi-truck is extremely dangerous.
If you or a loved one was involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced Allegheny County truck accident lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. today. Call us at 412-765-1888 or contact us online for a free consultation. We are based in Pittsburgh, where we represent clients in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, Washington County, and throughout western Pennsylvania.