commercial trucking

Truck accidents are among the most devastating types of collisions on Montana’s roads. The increasing number of trucks transporting goods through Bozeman and across Montana increases the risk of accidents. Understanding how to prevent truck accidents is crucial for the safety of all road users. At AFJ Law Firm PLLC Personal Injury and Car Accident Law, we are committed to educating drivers on preventive measures and helping those harmed by negligent trucking practices. Here are key strategies to avoid truck accidents and ensure safer travel in Montana.

Understanding the Unique Dangers of Truck Accidents

Trucks are significantly larger and heavier than most other vehicles on the road. This size discrepancy means collisions involving trucks often result in severe injuries or fatalities. Trucks that lack equipment to account for their design also have larger blind spots and may require longer stopping distances and more time to maneuver. Recognizing these unique dangers is the first step in preventing accidents, even if it is the commercial motor vehicle operator’s ultimate responsibility to adjust their driving to account for these hazards.

Defensive Driving Techniques to Prevent Truck Accidents

It is ultimately a trucker’s job to account for their bigger size, increased dangers, and limitations when operating their commercial motor vehicles. But remember, when semi-truck crashes happen, the smaller vehicle and its occupants almost always lose and suffer the most significant injuries, even if the semi-truck driver is at fault. 

Defensive driving is a proactive approach that all drivers should adopt to help prevent accidents. This involves doing your best to be actively aware of your surroundings, anticipating potential hazards, and making safe driving decisions. When sharing the road with trucks, it’s essential to maintain a safe following distance. Trucks often need more time to stop, and following too closely can lead to rear-end collisions. It’s usually best to pass trucks on the left side where the driver’s visibility is better and never linger in a truck’s blind spots, also known as “no-zones.”

Importance of Vehicle Maintenance for Truck Safety

Regular vehicle maintenance is critical for preventing truck accidents. Trucking companies must ensure that their fleets are in optimal condition, which includes regular inspections and timely repairs. Drivers should perform pre-trip inspections to check brakes, tires, lights, and other essential components. Proper maintenance reduces the likelihood of mechanical failures that can cause accidents. If you see a vehicle with poor maintenance or improperly functioning parts, be aware that this lack of maintenance indicates the type of trucker and commercial motor vehicle company not following the laws. This disregard for safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and the rules of the road often translate to their driving. Be wary of semi-trucks that look poorly maintained.

Adhering to Speed Limits and Avoiding Reckless Driving

Speeding is a leading cause of truck accidents. Trucks require more time and distance to stop, and excessive speed can make it impossible to avoid a collision. Truck and passenger vehicle drivers should adhere to posted speed limits and drive according to road conditions. Reckless driving behaviors such as tailgating, abrupt lane changes, and aggressive driving increase the risk of accidents. No safe trucker should be doing these reckless acts. If you see a trucker doing any of these things, despite the drastically increased harm that is likely to occur if they hit someone, stay, or get out of their way. They are a problem waiting to happen.

The Role of Fatigue in Truck Accidents and How to Combat It

Driver fatigue is a significant factor in many truck accidents. Long hours on the road can lead to drowsiness and reduced reaction times. Truck drivers should adhere to the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which limit the number of hours they can drive and require rest breaks. Passenger vehicle drivers should learn and recognize the signs of a fatigued driver. Drifting over fog lines or road lane separators may indicate a fatigued commercial motor vehicle operator. Try to be on heightened alert if you see this.

Impact of Weather Conditions on Truck Safety

Montana’s weather can be unpredictable, and adverse conditions like snow, ice, and fog can increase the risk of truck accidents. Drivers should adjust their speed and following distance according to the weather. Trucks need more time to stop on slippery roads, so maintaining a greater distance is crucial. Using headlights and ensuring clear visibility can also help prevent accidents in poor weather conditions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require drivers to change their driving, exercise “extreme caution,” or even get off the road entirely in hazardous conditions such as snow or ice on the road. If you see a driver out and driving in hazardous conditions, be aware they may be driving in disregard of their legal duties and might not be a driver who cares about others’ safety to the extent they should and are required to.

Importance of Professional Training for Truck Drivers

Proper training for truck drivers is essential for road safety. Trucking companies should invest in comprehensive training programs that cover safe driving practices, defensive driving techniques, and the handling of emergencies. Continuous education and training ensure drivers have the knowledge and skills to prevent accidents.

Legal Recourse for Truck Accident Victims

Despite taking preventive measures, you or those close to you may still get hit by a commercial motor vehicle operator. Knowing your legal rights is critical if you’re involved in a truck accident. Trucking companies and drivers can be held accountable for negligence or breaking the law. You need an attorney who knows trucking and commercial motor vehicle laws and that the rules are different for truckers than for passenger car operators. At AFJ Law Firm PLLC Personal Injury and Car Accident Law, we specialize in personal injury, trucking crash, motor vehicle accident, and insurance coverage law. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of truck accident victims and their loved ones. Our experienced trucking accident team can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact AFJ Law Firm PLLC Personal Injury and Car Accident Law for Expert Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident in Montana, don’t hesitate to contact AFJ Law Firm PLLC Personal Injury and Car Accident Law. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Our team is committed to holding negligent parties accountable and fighting for full and fair compensation for our clients.

Truck accidents can be severe and life-altering, but the frequency of these accidents can be reduced with the right knowledge and precautions. Drive safely, stay vigilant, and remember that AFJ Law Firm PLLC Personal Injury and Car Accident Law is here to support you if the worst happens.

Click here to visit our Montana Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Click here to visit our Commercial Trucking and Semi-Truck Accidents practice page.