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How to Avoid Accidents With Big Trucks in Santa Barbara


How to Avoid Accidents With Big Trucks in Santa Barbara

I’m Ed Smith, a Santa Barbara truck accident lawyer. Collisions between motor vehicles and big trucks cause serious injuries and deaths every year. Learning how to avoid crashes for both drivers of big trucks and drivers of motor vehicles can help make the roads safer for everyone.

Accident Records

Although many of those accidents are caused by negligent drivers of motor vehicles, according to statistics supplied by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, drivers of large trucks represent the highest percentage of prior crashes compared with drivers of motor vehicles, motorcycles and light trucks. However, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in a study of 8,309 crashes between big trucks and motor vehicles that resulted in fatalities, drivers of motor vehicles were responsible for the crashes 80 percent of the time, while drivers of big trucks were at fault 27 percent of the time. However, the drivers of motor vehicles are more likely to suffer serious injuries as a result of a crash with a big truck, including brain injuries, spinal injuries and abdominal trauma.

How the Driver of a Motor Vehicle Can Stay Safe Around Big Trucks

The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers guidance on staying safe when near big trucks on the road. By exercising these precautions, a driver of a motor vehicle can help ensure their own safety and that of the trucker.

  • Big trucks need more distance to stop. Because of their size and weight, a big truck requires twice the distance to stop than a motor vehicle. Moving in front of a big rig and suddenly stopping or slowing can cause an accident because the truck will not have sufficient time to avoid a collision.
  • Stay out of a truck’s blind spots. It can be difficult to avoid hitting someone else’s vehicle if you can’t see them. Blind spots on a truck are directly in front, directly in back and on both sides. The distance of the blind spots on the side of a big truck depend on its length. To be safe, remember that if you can’t see the driver of a big truck in his/her mirror, he or she can’t see you.
  • Don’t tailgate a big truck. This is a dangerous practice when tailgating another motor vehicle. It can be lethal when tailgating a big truck. If the truck driver is forced to brake suddenly, you could become the victim of an underride accident. Don’t come any closer than 20 to 25 car lengths behind a big truck, and add more distance if the weather conditions are poor.
  • Pass using caution. Not only are you going past a truck’s blind spot, but the truck can create wind turbulence of its own. When you pass, don’t dawdle, and if you begin to pass and find out you can’t, don’t pace the truck. Drop back so the driver can spot you.
  • Stay out of the way when a big truck is turning: Big trucks often need extra room when making a turn. Dropping back to allow them to do so makes it safer for you and for the trucker.
  • When coming up on a big truck on the road or driving behind one, watch for signals and a change in movement. A truck that is turning in one direction can swing the trailer in the other direction first in order to make the turn.

Common Reasons Big Truck Drivers Cause Accidents

Drivers of big trucks are, for the most part, skilled at what they do for a living. After all, it takes skill to manage an 80,000 pound, 70 to 80 foot long vehicle. However, some common causes of truck driver accidents are as follows:

  • Poor training: Drivers need to be trained in defensive driving techniques and safety to avoid accidents.
  • Bad scheduling: This may be due to a company’s policy of getting a load to its destination as quickly as possible at the expense of a driver’s safety and others traveling on the road. Fatigue and drowsy driving can cause an accident.
  • Improper maintenance: Worn tires and brakes, lights that are not functioning and other maintenance problems can lead to an accident.
  • Distracted driving: Long hours on the road can lead to boredom. Texting and driving is one of the distractions faced by long-distance truckers.
  • Poorly packed cargo: Cargo that isn’t packed with balance in mind can cause a big truck to overturn.
  • Speeding: Some truckers speed to make up lost time or to get to their destination more quickly. However, speeding in an 80,000 pound truck can be a recipe for disaster.
  • Drunk driving or drug use: This is a common factor in any type of motor vehicle accident. Driving while impaired causes a lowering of reaction time and loss of judgment. In addition, it can adversely affect the vision of the driver. When a truck driver gets pulled over for drunk driving, it can have serious consequences.

Santa Barbara Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Santa Barbara truck accident lawyer. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, call me at (805) 372-0200 or (800) 404-5400. I have free and friendly advice to offer you.

Find my client reviews and comments at Google, Yelp, and Avvo, along with a synopsis of some of my firm’s cases at Verdicts and Settlements.

I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Since 1982, I have practiced injury law in California, including Santa Barbara, helping obtain fair compensation for those who have suffered a traumatic injury or wrongful death.

I am the founder and the owner of, a site with comprehensive information about personal injuries.

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