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Your Essential Guide to Semi-Truck Accidents:

Their Devastating Impact and How to Avoid Becoming A Victim
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Semi-truck accidents can be physically and emotionally devastating for the accident victims who suffer life-altering injuries, or the family members of a lost loved one. Every year, dozens of serious semi-truck accidents occur on roads and highways across Minnesota. Unfortunately, these accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and even fatalities, due to the sheer size and weight of these commercial vehicles. When a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the results can be devastating.

Being involved in an accident with a negligent commercial driver makes it much more likely that you will suffer from serious or catastrophic injuries than if you were hit by another passenger vehicle, or even death. It’s important for every driver on the road to learn about how we can decrease the number of semi-truck accidents happening in Minnesota.

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Why Semi Accidents Are Often Serious

Accidents involving semi-trucks often cause more severe damage than accidents involving passenger vehicles for several reasons. First, semi-trucks are much larger and heavier than other vehicles. A fully loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The greater mass and momentum of a semi-truck means that it can cause more damage upon impact. Keep in mind that this heavy cargo is sometimes improperly loaded, or they may be toxic or flammable, which can cause more severe injuries during the accident.

Because of their greater mass, semis require a longer distance to come to a complete stop than passenger vehicles. This is because they have a larger mass and therefore more momentum. If a semi-truck needs to stop suddenly, it may not be able to do so in time to avoid a collision.

Semi-trucks have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. These blind spots are often referred to as “no zones” and include areas directly behind the truck, as well as the areas to the sides of the trailer. If a passenger vehicle is in one of these blind spots, the truck driver may not see them and could inadvertently cause an accident.

Risk Factors for Semi-Truck Accidents

Various factors contribute to the risk of a semi-truck accident. Here are some of the most common risk factors.

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Driver Fatique

Long hours of driving without rest can lead to fatigue, which impairs a driver’s judgment and reaction time. Drivers who are sleep-deprived or drowsy are more likely to cause an accident. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has created regulations that limit the number of hours a semi-truck driver can work each week to promote adequate rest, but unfortunately, this doesn’t eliminate accidents.

Speeding

Excessive speed can make it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, especially in adverse weather conditions or when the road is slippery. Commercial vehicles require a longer stopping distance than smaller vehicles, and speeding can increase the risk of a collision.

Distracted Driving

Distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio can take a driver’s attention away from the road and increase the risk of an accident. There are sometimes more distractions in semitruck cabs, which can cause drivers to drift into other lanes, fail to brake, or ignore speed limits.

Poor Maintenance

Semi-trucks require regular maintenance to ensure that all parts are working correctly. Many of these parts are absolutely integral to the safety of the driver and every other vehicle on the road. Failure to maintain the vehicle can lead to brake failure, tire blowouts, and other mechanical problems that can cause serious accidents.

Driving under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant risk factor for semi-truck accidents. Impaired drivers have slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and may have difficulty staying awake. Minnesota’s DWI laws are strict for commercial drivers, but they aren’t enough to stop every commercial driver from drinking before getting behind the wheel.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Heavy rain, snow, ice, and fog can make it difficult for drivers to see and control their vehicles. Minnesota has notoriously intense winter weather, and conditions can change quickly. Long haul truckers from out of state may not be used to driving in these adverse conditions. It’s essential for all drivers to adjust their driving speed and be more cautious during adverse weather conditions, especially if you are the one driving near a semi-truck in your passenger vehicle.

Tips for Avoiding An Accident with A Commercial Truck

There are a few things we can all do while driving to decrease the chances of being in an accident with a semi-truck. Since trucks take a longer time to stop, it’s important to maintain a safe following distance. In addition, be aware of a truck’s blind spot. When in doubt, play things safe and do not drive on the sides of the truck. Cautious driving could save your life.

Commercial drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or have trouble concentrating on the road due to their long hours. If you notice that a semi-truck driver seems to be driving erratically, pull off the freeway and contact law enforcement to come check things out.

How to Address Serious Injuries from Semi-Truck Accidents

Semi-truck accidents can cause serious injuries, and addressing them properly is crucial to ensure that you get the necessary medical care and compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses. The first and most important step is to seek medical attention right away. Generally in a semi-truck accident that causes serious injury, the injured party will be taken to the hospital by ambulance. If for some reason you did not receive medical attention at the scene of your accident, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

After you or your injured loved one is stable, contact a Minnesota personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the legal process and speak with insurance adjusters on your behalf. They can also help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Semi-truck accidents that cause serious injuries can be complex and challenging to navigate. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney in MN who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Sieben Edmunds Miller’s personal injury team shares decades of experience and will fight for fair compensation while always protecting your rights. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible

We all want to know how to avoid accidents, but we can only do so much to keep ourselves safe. That’s why it’s so important to remain vigilant when you find yourself in the situations we’ve discussed. Did you suffer injuries from a semi-truck accident in Minnesota? Contact our Minnesota personal injury attorneys by calling Sieben Edmunds Miller at (651) 994-6744.

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