How to Safely Pass a Truck in New Jersey?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a “total of 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016. Seventeen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 66 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.”  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there were 54 fatal truck accident collisions in New Jersey in 2020. This is up from 32 crashes and 35 deaths in 2018, and 30 crashes and 36 deaths in 2019. Because a semi-truck can weight up to 30 times more than your passenger vehicle, an accident involving a semi-truck can result in severe and life-altering injuries. It is important that you take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of an accident.  

Be Aware of Trucker’s Limitations

Safely driving around large trucks is vitally important, considering that large trucks and commercial vehicles have more limitations than smaller vehicles. Large trucks, such as semi-tractor trailers, especially when fully loaded, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and therefore cannot stop as quickly as a normal passenger vehicle. As such, truck requires a longer stopping distance. Generally, a semi-truck needs about the length of two football fields to come to a safe and complete stop. In addition to needing more room to stop, a truck also requires space for wide turns. When a large truck needs to turn, pay close attention and stay back to offer extra room.

Be Patient

The left lane is referred to as the “passing lane” for a reason. It’s the safest place to pass any vehicle, but particularly trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. Although it can be frustrating to be stuck behind a slow truck, resist the urge to pass on the right side. Moreover, trucks have huge blind spots on both sides. Pass promptly while still abiding by the speed limit.  Patience, awareness, and clear signaling can greatly reduce the risk of collision as you drive near-and pass-large trucks. Caution can prevent a devastating accident.

What Do You Do if You are Hit by a Truck in NJ?

If you are involved in an accident involving a semi-truck or commercial vehicle, you can do several things what will prove helpful later on if you ultimately decide to pursue a legal claim.  For example: 

  • Call 911 and report the accident immediately: regardless of whether anyone is injured or not, you should call 911 and report the accident. Wait patiently for first responders to arrive. 
  • Leave your vehicle where it is:  if necessary, a personal injury claim might require an accident reconstruction expert.  These experts can reconstruct the accident scene using the position of the damaged vehicles, skid marks, tire tracks, and other evidence at the scene, but moving your vehicle can interfere with this work.
  • Cooperate with police: when asked, tell responding officers the facts of what happened, and do not disclose unnecessary details or speculate about who was at fault. 
  • Take down the truck driver’s insurance information:  The other driver will want this information from you as well, so it’s important to have your own insurance information at the ready.
  • Take as many photographs as possible: you can use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene and all the vehicles involved. 
  • Visit a doctor as soon as possible: If you’ve been injured, you will want to get treatment for your injuries, but you should schedule a thorough medical examination even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt. A physical exam can rule out any internal injuries or other complications that may not be apparent right away.

Victim of a Truck Accident in New Jersey? Contact Mazie Slater

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck or commercial vehicle, contact our firm for a free consultation. For example, in 2014, our firm obtained a $5 million settlement on behalf of our client who was rendered disabled after he was hit by a tractor-trailer. In 2020, we obtained a $1.75 million settlement on behalf of our client who sustained significant back and neck injuries requiring surgical intervention after being rear-ended by a commercial vehicle. Our attorneys at Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman have significant experience litigating motor vehicle cases, including those involving tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles.