Tips for Staying Safe on the Road This Holiday Season
An increasing number of people are travelling for the fall and winter holidays; AAA estimates that over 102 million Americans hit the road around Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2018. While it’s exciting to celebrate with loved ones, it’s also a dangerous time to share the road with big trucks. Congested and icy roads, fatigue, and distracted drivers lead to an increase in fatal car and truck crashes during the holidays.
In this blog, our experienced truck wreck lawyers suggest ways you can stay safe and avoid a crash this holiday season.
How to Stay Safe on the Road With Semi-Trucks
According to the Insurance Information Institute data, there is a significant uptick in fatal wrecks during the fall and winter holidays. In 2017 alone, 1,091 people died in car and truck crashes over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays. A University of Alabama study notes that 50 more people die during Thanksgiving week than any other week of the year.
During this busy time to drive, it’s important to take extra safety precautions around big trucks. Following these safety tips can help keep you and others safe on the road.
Avoid Big Trucks’ Blind Spots and Pass on the Left
Semi-trucks’ biggest blind spots are along their right side, near the left front wheel, and within 30 feet of their trailer. When you’re in these zones, the trucker driver will have a hard time seeing you, increasing the chance of a crash. Stay safe by passing them on the left, where the driver has more visibility.
Don’t Cut in Front of 18-Wheelers
At 80,000 pounds, a big truck is 16 times the weight of your 5,000-pound car. Trucks have longer stopping times and are unable to maneuver as quickly and deftly as a passenger vehicle. Quickly cutting in front of one puts you and the truck at risk, especially on icy or snow-covered roads when stopping or maneuvering is even more difficult.
Check Your Vehicle’s Safety and Weight Limits
Before you rush out the door, it’s best to perform a pre-trip safety check. During this inspection, make sure that your car’s tires, brakes, lights, and windshield are working properly. You should also double-check your vehicle’s fluid levels. Last but not least, clear off any ice, snow, or debris on your car.
It’s also tempting to overload your car during holiday road trips. However, jamming your vehicle full of gifts, family members, and ingredients for your holiday meal can be dangerous. Your car has a recommended cargo weight. If the total weight of your passengers and cargo exceeds this recommendation, you’re putting too much strain on the vehicle’s safety-critical systems, like tires, brakes, and steering. An overloaded vehicle can also impact visibility for the driver.
If your suspension is sagging or the rear window is blocked, consider shipping your gifts to their final destination rather than cramming them in your car.
Avoid Drunk and Distracted Driving
Drowsy, distracted, and drugged driving are all dangerous behaviors that have no place on our roads. However, too many of us overindulge or drive while fatigued during the holidays. If your driving abilities are even slightly impaired, make sure you have a way home that doesn’t put you behind the wheel.
Follow Washington State’s Child Seat Rules
It’s tempting to ignore child seat guidelines when you’re just driving a few miles, and your kids want to sit with their cousins. However, in a truck wreck, your children will be incredibly vulnerable if they’re not properly restrained.
In 2019, Washington set new rules for the use of child seats. They become effective on January 1, 2020, but it’s a good idea to start using them now.
- Under the age of two: rear-facing child seats
- Between the ages of two and four: front-facing child seats
- Between the ages of eight and twelve: booster seat
Children under the age of 13 also cannot sit in the front seat, even if they are using a booster. Notably, if your child is small for their age, they may need to stay in a child seat for a longer period.
RELATED ARTICLE: Answers to Five Common Questions After a Truck Accident
Trucking Accidents Can Happen to Anyone
No matter how safe you are on the road, truck wrecks can still happen. Even the most dependable truck driver can’t always plan for a defective part that causes them to crash or the poorly made tire that explodes on the road. And it’s impossible to anticipate which truckers are driving drowsy under the pressure of tight delivery schedules. When negligent driving or defective products cause these kinds of accidents happen, you have options, and you deserve answers.
Seattle Truck Law has built a reputation for its cutting-edge approach to truck wreck claims. We act quickly, investigating our clients’ crashes and preserving evidence that identifies exactly who caused their injuries.
Seattle Truck Law | Protecting Victims After Holiday Truck Crashes
Truck crashes are some of the most deadly and devastating events that can happen on the road. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident despite taking every safety precaution, you deserve compensation for your medical bills and suffering.
At Seattle Truck Law, we’re proud to represent victims just like you who have been hurt in big truck crashes. If you have questions about your case, don’t’ hesitate to contact the attorneys at Seattle Truck Law to schedule your free consultation. Call 866-580-HURT (4878) or complete this brief online form to speak with an attorney today.
Watts, A. (2019, April 24). A new law in Washington could keep kids in booster seats until middle school. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/23/us/wa-booster-seat-law-trnd/index.html
Facts about trucks — Everything you want to know about eighteen wheelers. Truckers Report. Retrieved from https://www.thetruckersreport.com/facts-about-trucks/
Facts + statistics (2019). Insurance Information Institute. Retrieved from https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-highway-safety
Hall, J. (2018, December 13). AAA: One-in-three Americans will travel this holiday season, the most on record. AAA. Retrieved from https://newsroom.aaa.com/2018/12/2018-busiest-holiday-travel-season-on-record/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.