Self-Driving Semis Will Soon Hit the Road, Are You Ready?

Many companies have joined the race to develop the first autonomous semi-trucks that could change the future of shipping. Undoubtedly a self-driving semi that can crisscross the country for 17 hours straight would improve efficiency, especially as e-commerce sales skyrocket and a driver shortage persist. Advocates argue that automation makes trucking less safe, especially when there’s no such thing as a fender bender with an 80,000-pound truck. There needs to be indisputable evidence an autonomous truck is safe; otherwise it puts drivers at increased risk when sharing the road.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 4,000 fatal accidents involving large trucks or buses occur yearly. The risk of an accident increases with these vehicles because they have significant blind spots and can’t maneuver as quickly as most cars. And because semi-trucks often weigh up to 80,000 pounds – or 40 tons of weight – it’s easy to see why a collision with a smaller, 2-ton vehicle often turns fatal. 

Reduce Your Chances of a Truck Accident

Even though the inherent limitations make big rigs especially dangerous in road accidents, road safety is everyone’s responsibility. In fact, car drivers cause 72 percent of all collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. Driving too fast, improper following, and failing to stay in an appropriate lane are common mistakes drivers make in fatal crashes with semis.

Nearly everything we need to survive is brought to our local stores by truck, which means semis play a critical role in helping move our nation’s economy forward. With 12 million large trucks and buses crowding America’s highways, passengers and drivers in cars and small vehicles must remain especially vigilant. 

Tips to Practice Safe Driving Habits

FMCSA’s Our Roads, Our Safety campaign hopes to raise awareness about sharing the road safely with large trucks and buses, and supports the overall mission to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving these vehicles.

These tips from the campaign can help drivers be aware of the dangers big rigs pose so everyone can share the road safely.

  1. Pass safely: Make sure you see the truck driver in the mirror before passing and pulling in front. Never pass on a downgrade or from the right lane.
  2. Never drive under the influence: Alcohol and drugs impair judgment and reaction time, which is especially dangerous around enormous vehicles.
  3. Don’t cut it too close: It’s not worth it to cut off a bus or truck. If you move in too quickly, you will likely be in a blind spot.
  4. Don’t drive fatigued: Driving when you’re too tired can be as dangerous as being under the influence. Take regular breaks or get another driver to take over.
  5. Always wear a seatbelt: Using safety belts is still one of the most important things you and passengers can do to save lives.
  6. Stay back: Tailgating puts you in a blind spot, and if you fail to stop in time, your vehicle could slide under a truck.
  7. Be patient: Because of their size, trucks accelerate more slowly. Driving aggressively can cause a dangerous situation.
  8. Stay out of blind spots: Large trucks have blind spots on every side. If you can’t see the driver, they probably can’t see you.
  9. Anticipate wide turns: Buses and trucks swing wide and may even start a turn from a middle lane. Give them plenty of distance at intersections.
  10. Stay focused: Driving distracted can be fatal. Avoid eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, attending to a text, or doing anything that might take your eyes off the road.

Contact Bache & Lynch if You’ve Been Injured in a Semi Accident

It’s easy to think all vehicles operate like cars. But the truth is semis, trucks and buses are much more difficult to maneuver, have massive blind spots, and take far longer to stop. By having awareness and following these tips, simple adjustments can help to keep everyone safe on the roads. If you were involved in a wreck involving a semi, large truck or bus, or wish to discuss the specifics of your case (including what your insurance does and doesn’t cover) in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer who has handled previous large truck cases, please contact us today.