Accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks happen all too often in North Carolina. Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, truck accidents can cause catastrophic injury and loss of life. 

Understand the risks and contributing factors associated with these accidents to prevent a dangerous collision. 

Prevalence of truck accidents 

According to the most recent published data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, buses and large trucks caused nearly 5,000 fatal accidents in 2017. This represented a 6% increase over 2016 numbers. In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that although trucks make up just 4% of the vehicles on the road, they represent 10% of fatal accidents. 

Speed, bad weather conditions and driver fatigue all contribute to truck accidents. The FMCSA estimates that 5% of truck accidents involve maintenance issues. Federal regulations and employer demands can make it difficult for truck drivers to get enough sleep. 

Safety steps to follow 

When you see a large truck on the road, leave plenty of space. It takes more time for tractor-trailers to slow, stop and swerve as needed to avoid a collision. Stay far enough behind a truck that you can see the mirrors. Otherwise, the driver cannot see you because of expansive blind spots. Do not pass on the right of the truck, where the blind spot is largest. Never cut off a truck in traffic. 

Avoid pulling over on a road where trucks travel unless you have no choice. If you have to stop, move as far over to the shoulder as possible. Give trucks in the right lane enough room to pass you. 

If you or a loved one suffers a serious injury in a truck accident, you may be able to sue for financial damages such as lost wages and medical bills. For example, the truck company or the driver may be liable if reckless driving, truck maintenance issues or other negligent actions caused the collision.