An Experienced Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyer Shares Tips on How To Avoid Tractor-Trailer Blind Spots
May 15, 2023 – Paul W. Schroepfer & Robert A. Correia
Are you a Minnesota driver who regularly shares the road with tractor-trailers? If so, understanding potential hazards such as tractor-trailer blind spots is vital.
Tractor-trailers are integral to Minnesota’s economy, but we cannot ignore their potential to cause road accidents. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, these massive vehicles are involved in thousands of crashes yearly, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. By understanding how to minimize risks, we can help ensure that drivers operate tractor-trailers responsibly and that everyone on our roads can arrive at their destinations safely.
With over 70 years of combined experience, the tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. believe you can avoid becoming one of these statistics with proper safety knowledge. Keep reading this blog to discover tips on staying safe while sharing the roads with tractor-trailers.
Have you already been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer and don’t know what to do? Our experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. team provides small firm attention with big firm results. Call us at (612) 333-3343 to schedule a free consultation to review the details of your case. When we’re done, you’ll know the game plan and options, but you make the final decision.
What Are Tractor-Trailer Blind Spots?
Driving a tractor-trailer is no easy task, primarily due to blind spots—areas around the truck that the driver can’t directly see while driving. Blind spots occur behind, in front, and along both sides of the truck. Because tractor-trailers are significantly larger than regular passenger vehicles, with a much broader turning radius, tractor-trailer blind spots are particularly concerning. The trucker may be unable to see other cars in time to avoid a collision, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Understanding the location of blind spots and how to avoid them can help prevent devastating accidents.
How Many Blind Spots Does a Truck Have?
While the number of blind spots on a truck varies depending on its make and model, generally, trucks have the four main blind spots we mentioned: directly in front, behind the trailer, and on either side. These blind spots can make it difficult for truck drivers to see smaller vehicles, pedestrians, or bikers. Remaining vigilant and aware while sharing the highway can help keep you safe.
How Can I Stay Out Of A Truck’s Blind Spot?
To stay out of a truck’s blind spot, put the following tips into practice:
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and any trucks you encounter. The Minnesota Driver’s Manual recommends a minimum 3-second following distance.
- Avoid driving alongside trucks for extended periods. Pass quickly and return to your lane once you have passed them safely.
- Don’t cut too close when passing or turning around trucks because trucks have larger turning radiuses than cars.
- Don’t tailgate; it will reduce your visibility and increase your chances of driving into a trucker’s blind spot if they make sudden stops or turns without warning.
- Use extra caution when driving near large trucks at night. Their headlights may not reach far enough ahead for them to see you clearly in their mirrors or through their windows if you are too close behind them or beside them.
What Causes Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
The massive size and shape of tractor-trailers can endanger other vehicles under specific conditions. Aside from blind spots, other factors that cause tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Poor visibility due to weather conditions, darkness, or other factors
- Distracted driving
- Improperly maintained tractor-trailers
Common Types of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tractor-trailer accidents can occur in multiple ways. In Minnesota, three of the most common types of truck accidents include:
- Jackknife – A jackknife happens when the trailer swings around, making it difficult for the driver to brake.
- Tire Blowouts – Tire blowouts occur when a sudden break in the tire or a puncture causes air loss.
- Rollovers – Speeding, sudden swerves, lane changes, or improperly loaded cargo usually cause rollovers.
These accidents can happen to anyone; when on the road, drivers should always prioritize safety.
What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A Tractor-Trailer Accident?
Although a tractor-trailer accident can leave you shaken and overwhelmed, do your best to stay calm. Move yourself and any passengers to the safest location possible, then follow the six steps below.
- Contact the authorities. Minnesota law requires drivers involved in collisions to contact the police. Law enforcement will investigate the scene and create a report that can serve as evidence in a legal case.
- Prioritize your health. Even if you (or any passengers in your vehicle) don’t feel pain or discomfort, seeking medical attention is vital. Sometimes serious injuries take time to manifest, and getting checked out early on can prevent complications later. Plus, having a medical record of your injuries is crucial if you decide to pursue legal action.
- Gather information. Take photos of the accident and collect contact information from any witnesses. It can bolster your case and provide additional support for your claims.
- Resist the temptation to post on social media. It’s understandable to want to vent and seek support after an accident or injury. But before you hit “post” on that social media update, consider this: sharing your story prematurely could work against you. Resist the urge to overshare until you receive legal guidance and compensation. We know staying silent can be frustrating, but it’s in your best interest to delay broadcasting your experience until it won’t harm your case.
- Notify your insurance company. Letting your insurer know about the accident as soon as possible can help speed up the claims process and ensure you receive proper compensation. However, do not admit fault. Simply notify your insurance company about the accident and your intention to seek medical attention.
- Consult with a qualified attorney. Even if you don’t plan on filing a lawsuit, speak with a legal professional who can advise you on your options and help you navigate the accident’s aftermath. With the proper support, you can recover from the trauma of a truck accident and reclaim your life.
How Do I Recover Damages from a Tractor-Trailer Accident in Minnesota?
Minnesota operates as a no-fault insurance state, meaning each driver must carry their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Regardless of who caused the accident, you will file a claim under your own PIP policy to cover medical expenses and lost income you might incur. You can also pursue a bodily injury claim to recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company. These damages include medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, disability, and emotional distress, amongst others.
If your damages exceed your PIP policy limit for medical or income loss benefits, medical bills and lost income can then be claimed through the other driver’s insurance company. You can file a claim against the other driver’s liability coverage or even take legal action with a personal injury lawsuit. However, proving fault can be a complicated process. In Minnesota truck crashes, establishing negligence is critical. You’ll need to show that the truck driver or their company didn’t exercise reasonable care and that this negligence was a direct cause of the accident. Don’t hesitate to get help from an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process and fight for your rights.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Minnesota Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is six (6) years. It includes cases like truck accidents based on the liability principle of negligence. You must resolve your claims with the insurance companies or commence a lawsuit within this period of time to avoid your case being forever barred, because exceptions are rare.
Have You Suffered An Injury in a Tractor-Trailer Accident? Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. Offers Small-Firm Attention, Big-Firm Results
Whether caused by blind spots or another reason, tractor-trailer accidents can wreak havoc on your life. If you’ve had an accident with a tractor-trailer, we understand that the ensuing physical injuries, mental anguish, inability to work, lost wages, and loss of enjoyment can leave you feeling hopeless.
At Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A., you are not just another file number but a valued client who receives individualized attention. Results matter, and our experienced Minneapolis personal injury lawyers will guide you through the process from start to finish to protect your rights and secure fair compensation after a tractor-trailer accident. Call us at (612) 333-3343 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation.
Copyright © 2023. Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Related Blog Posts
An Experienced Minnesota ATV Accident Lawyer Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions
Are you a Minnesotan who enjoys outdoor adventures on ATVs (all-terrain vehicles)? ATVs have become increasingly popular in our state, particularly over the past three years, due to the COVID-19…
11 Common Causes of a Minneapolis Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle in Minneapolis, you know how thrilling it can be to feel the wind on your face as you cruise down the open road. However,…
An Experienced Boat Accident Attorney Shares 7 Safety Measures to Avoid a Minnesota Boating Accident
Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” offers an unparalleled boating experience, drawing locals and tourists alike to our beautiful waters. Yet, the tranquility can be disrupted in an instant, as…