During the holiday season, drivers face many dangers. Even the most experienced drivers are challenged by winter conditions like poor visibility and icy roads. But there is another danger that presents itself this time of year, and you’ve probably noticed it right outside your window.
The holidays are a time of hustle and bustle, especially for delivery and commercial trucks. Right this moment there is a parade of UPS, Amazon, FedEx, USPS, and other commercial trucks out delivering gifts and necessities during the holiday rush.
During this holiday season, it is estimated that 99% of consumers will do some of their shopping online while over 50% will do most of it online. This will translate to more than a billion packages delivered this holiday season. Under the pressure of meeting deadlines and trying to empty their trucks, many delivery workers will drive too fast or become drowsy and inattentive. The combination of these factors can increase the chance of truck accidents, which are very often fatal.
Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to drive safely this holiday season.
Whenever you are driving, keep an eye on what is ahead and behind you. Don’t let phones, electronic devices, or passengers distract you while driving. Don’t assume neighborhoods are safe zones. Although speed limits may be lower in residential areas, many drivers pay less attention when driving in neighborhoods, especially those they live and drive in on a regular basis. Studies reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that approximately 52% of all car accidents occur within a five-mile radius of home.
Give Trucks Plenty of Space
Delivery trucks often make quick, unexpected stops. Keep a safe distance from the truck to avoid a crash. Make sure to give plenty of space to large semis, box trucks, or delivery trucks. Due to their size, large trucks have longer stopping distances and are more difficult to maneuver, so allowing them room reduces the risk of an accident.
Avoid Blind Spots
When you approach commercial and delivery trucks, do your best to stay out of their blind spots. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that commercial vehicles have blind spots directly to their left, right, front, and back. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot see the driver in the mirror, he or she cannot see you either.
Use Caution When Passing
Before passing a truck that has stopped to make a delivery, make sure the driver is out of your way before proceeding. Do not pass while going around a corner, or up and down a hill. Wait until you see the truck in your rearview mirror before merging back into your lane.
What to Do After An Accident With A Delivery Truck?
This holiday season, you cannot totally eliminate your risk of being involved in a commercial truck accident. Here’s what you should do to protect your rights in the event of a collision:
Seek Safety And Attend To Any Injuries
The first thing you should do after a truck accident is to seek safety and take note of any injuries you have sustained. If you are physically able, it is imperative that you contact the police and gather as much information as possible about the truck accident.
Obtain Truck Driver Information and Registration
As soon as you are able to, you must get the contact, registration and insurance information of the other driver. Gather as many details as you can about the truck, the trucking company, and the driver. A police officer or a passenger in your vehicle can gather information on your behalf if you are physically incapable. However, it is best not to rely solely on a police report as it may not provide all the details you will need to prove your claim.
Preserve The Evidence
Make sure statements of any eyewitnesses are taken as soon as possible. We can help with this. We know what to ask and how to ask the questions necessary to find out what happened. It is better to have a third party, such as your lawyer, take statements to avoid confrontations with the other driver. Research conducted by both legal scholars and psychologists suggests that human memory can be very flawed. As time passes, stories can lose important details or become distorted by bias. Getting statements on video is another great way to record the events for future reference. Take pictures of the vehicles that were involved, the accident scene, your injuries, and anything else that may be relevant to your claim.
See A Doctor
Although you may think you have not been injured or that your injury is only minor, it is still crucial to visit a medical professional. Often symptoms do not appear until hours or days later. You may also overlook or underestimate your injuries due to the adrenaline and stress of a collision. Documenting the injuries you sustained is important when it comes to making an insurance claim.
Contact An Attorney Immediately
Do not accept any offers from the truck company or the insurance company without consulting an attorney first. The insurance company is not your friend, and neither is the truck driver’s employer. The settlement they offer may not be sufficient to compensate you for your injuries, medical care, property damage, and lost wages.
Around the holiday season, it is also a common practice for large retailers to rent out moving trucks to supplement their delivery fleet. Ever try to move around the holidays? It very quickly becomes impossible to find moving truck availability because so many are being rented out to deliver packages. This adds another level of liability in determining who is responsible for compensating you for damages to your health or vehicle.
Our Overland Park Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You with Your Truck Accident
With decades of experience helping Kansas City and Missouri residents who suffered severe truck accident injuries, our Overland Park truck accident lawyers are here to help. The level of service we provide to each and every client is one of our greatest strengths. We focus on helping our clients recover what they have lost and will fight aggressively to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured in an accident, fill out a contact form or call us at (913) 839-2808.