Highway Hotspots: Identifying and Avoiding Common Truck Accident Zones
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Highway Hotspots: Identifying and Avoiding Common Truck Accident Zones

29th September 2023

Like everywhere else, truck accidents in Fargo, North Dakota, are devastating. These catastrophes tend to happen in certain areas, called truck accident zones. Knowing where a truck accident is more likely to occur is critical to avoiding a life-altering injury or a terrible tragedy.

The attorneys with Sand Law will be ready to help if you suffer an injury due to a truck accident that wasn’t your fault. We’ll work passionately to obtain the money you deserve for the suffering you’ve experienced. Just contact us online or call 701-609-1510 for a free consultation.

The Impact of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents in North Dakota have a substantial impact. Statistics reveal a grim reality. There were 734 crashes involving large trucks in 2021. These accidents resulted in 11 fatalities and 273 severe injuries.

What sets these incidents apart from regular vehicle accidents is the sheer magnitude of their consequences. When 80,000-pound commercial trucks collide with smaller vehicles, the results are often catastrophic, leading to more severe injuries and, tragically, fatalities.

Truck accidents stand as a significant concern because of the following reasons:

  • Increased fatalities: Truck accidents have a higher likelihood of resulting in fatalities compared to accidents involving smaller vehicles. The size discrepancy means that smaller vehicles often bear the brunt of the impact, leading to more severe outcomes.
  • Devastating injuries: Even in cases where fatalities don’t happen, truck accidents can cause life-altering injuries. These injuries can include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, multiple fractures, and severe burns. Recovery from such injuries can be long and arduous, with substantial physical, emotional, and financial burdens.

Common Truck Accident Zones on Highways

If you drive in Fargo, North Dakota, avoiding every potential truck accident danger spot will be impossible. But if you remember to be alert to the following hazard areas, you could significantly reduce the chances of being involved in a horrible crash.

1. Intersections and Junctions

Intersections and junctions are hotspots for truck accidents. Merging speeds at these points can create a precarious environment, with vehicles simultaneously entering and exiting the highway. Limited visibility due to blind spots further compounds the risk, making it challenging for truck drivers to account for all surrounding vehicles. Maneuvering these large vehicles through tight spaces at intersections and junctions requires precision and vigilance, but mistakes can lead to devastating collisions.

2. Highway Work Zones

Reduced lanes, sudden stops, and frequently changing traffic patterns within these zones increase the likelihood of accidents. Drivers must exercise abundant caution in these areas to avoid collisions, as the margin for error is small.

3. Steep Grades and Mountain Passes

Trucks face significant challenges when navigating steep grades and mountain passes, especially during descents. Maintaining control on downward slopes can be incredibly challenging due to the weight of the cargo. The risk of brake overheating and failure looms large, making these areas particularly prone to accidents. Drivers must employ advanced techniques to ensure safe descents.

4. Tight Curves

Tight curves on highways present a risk of truck rollovers. Negotiating these curves safely can be tricky, given the limited maneuverability of large trucks. The potential for accidents is notably higher in these locations, so truckers must be extremely careful and reduce their speed.

5. Rural Highways

Truck and other motor vehicle accidents in rural areas claimed more than 85,000 lives in the U.S. between 2016 and 2020. These areas typically have limited lighting, frequent wildlife crossings, and less frequent road maintenance. These factors contribute to a heightened risk of accidents in rural settings. Drivers must exercise caution and be prepared for unexpected obstacles.

6. High Traffic Urban Zones

High-traffic urban zones are notorious for their complexity. Frequent lane changes, stop-and-go traffic, and pedestrian crossings increase the likelihood of truck accidents.

Navigating these areas demands heightened awareness, quick reflexes, and a commitment to defensive driving principles. Unfortunately, skilled truck drivers are in short supply.

Factors Contributing to Accidents in These Zones

Several factors contribute to accidents in these hotspot zones, increasing the risks for both truck drivers and other motorists:

  • Driver fatigue: The demanding nature of long hours on the road can lead to driver fatigue. Fatigued drivers have reduced reaction times and impaired decision-making abilities, making them more prone to accidents.
  • Blind spots: Trucks have significant blind spots, areas around them where other vehicles are virtually invisible to the driver. Failure to account for these blind spots can lead to dangerous lane changes and collisions.
  • Braking distance: Large commercial vehicles require significantly longer distances to come to a complete stop due to their size and weight. In situations where sudden stops are necessary, this longer braking distance can lead to rear-end collisions.
  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving is a universal concern but especially dangerous for truck drivers. Activities like using electronics, eating, or engaging in other distractions divert attention away from the road and increase the risk of accidents. Research shows that truck driver distraction is a contributing factor in 28% of truck accidents.
  • Equipment failure: Mechanical failures, such as brake malfunctions and tire blowouts, can occur unexpectedly and lead to accidents. Regular maintenance and thorough pre-trip inspections are essential to minimize this risk.

Tips for Avoiding Accidents in Truck Accident Zones

To reduce the risk of accidents in these high-risk zones, give trucks ample space on the road for safe braking and maneuvering. Avoid tailgating, as following a large truck can be particularly dangerous. Other tips to consider include the following:

  • Stay out of blind spots: Recognize and avoid the areas around trucks where they can’t see other vehicles. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the truck driver’s mirrors, they can’t see you.
  • Use caution in work zones: Adhere to posted speed limits in work zones, be aware of sudden changes in traffic patterns, and exercise extra caution. Follow the directions of flaggers and construction signs.
  • Plan routes in advance: Use GPS navigation or mobile apps to identify and avoid known accident hotspots. Proper planning can help you steer clear of high-risk areas.
  • Stay alert and undistracted: Minimize in-car distractions, keep your focus on the road, and remain vigilant. Avoid activities that divert your attention from driving.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Truck Accident

In the unfortunate event that you find yourself involved in a truck accident, taking the proper steps is crucial. The most important thing is to seek medical attention immediately, whether or not you believe you’ve suffered a severe injury. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, and early diagnosis and treatment can significantly affect recovery.

It would be best if you also tried to take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible damage. Gather witness statements if possible. This documentation can be invaluable in insurance claims and legal proceedings.

The next thing you must do is speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in truck accident cases. They can help you understand your rights, navigate complex legal processes, and pursue potential compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering.

Contact Sand Law to Speak with an Attorney ASAP After Your Truck Accident

Truck accidents have far-reaching consequences, and understanding their impact and the common hotspot zones is essential for all motorists. Prioritizing safety, being aware of potential risks, and taking proactive measures can help reduce the likelihood of accidents and contribute to safer highways for everyone on the road.

Sand Law attorneys encourage all drivers to share this knowledge and prioritize safety to help prevent truck accidents and their devastating consequences. But we also know that accidents can still happen no matter how careful you may be. If you’re involved in a truck accident caused by another’s negligence, use our online form or call 701-609-1510 to schedule a free case review.