Truck Driver Fatigue & Long Hauls: Protecting Yourself on I-5 in Washington

Do you often drive on I-5 in Vancouver, Washington? If so, you need to understand truck driver fatigue and how it can lead to accidents with smaller vehicles.

If you live or drive in Washington, chances are you have had to go through I-5 to get to your final destination at some point. These areas in Washington can be quite dangerous as they are also frequently used by commercial trucks.

If you’re the victim of a semi-truck accident due to truck driver fatigue, you may be entitled to compensation, especially if you have sustained physical injuries. At Henderson Taylor Law Firm, our team of truck accident lawyers has handled hundreds of truck accident cases and can help you get the settlement you need to make a full recovery.

Keep reading to find out what can contribute to truck accidents and how you can better protect yourself from truck driver fatigue.

What Makes Semi-Trucks So Dangerous?

Semi and long haul trucks have the potential to be very dangerous on the road as they are substantially larger than residential vehicles. Truck drivers also drive for long hours, which only increases the potential risk of them being involved in an accident.

Vehicles that get into an accident with a semi-truck are more likely to sustain substantial damage due to the size of these vehicles. Drivers and passengers are also at a greater risk of sustaining severe injuries and potentially fatal injuries.

Because semi and long haul trucks are so large, truck drivers also have less control than other drivers do. These trucks are harder to navigate, take a longer stop, and have greater difficulty making sharp turns, all of which can contribute to accidents.

Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. This is so common because truck drivers are required to drive long hours and often drive through long stretches of highways and freeways where less concentration is needed.

Truck driver fatigue statistics show that 65% of truck drivers have reported that they frequently or occasionally drive when they are feeling drowsy. Truck driver fatigue has also been contributing to truck accidents for over 70 years.

Accidents caused by truck driver fatigue have the potential to have life altering consequences, especially for the smaller vehicle. Drivers experiencing truck driving fatigue often become less aware, have a slower reaction time, may start to speed, and otherwise navigate the road unsafely.

Trucking Regulations

There are many federal truck driver fatigue laws and rules that help to manage this risk by holding trucking companies accountable. These rules include having driving limits that require drivers to get a certain amount of rest before they begin driving again. There is also an hourly limit to how long they can be on duty and drive so that they are legally required to stop and rest to decrease the risk of driver fatigue.

Part of truck driver fatigue management that is federally required is maintaining log books so that the truck drivers’ hours are cataloged. They are also required to undergo drug and alcohol testing to ensure they aren’t using substances to stay awake longer.

How Drivers Can Stay Safe on I-5 in Washington

When you are navigating I-5 in Vancouver, Washington, there are some ways that you can better protect yourself from trucks on the road. Here are some tips that can help you better protect yourself and reduce the chances of getting into a truck accident.

  • Give the truck space: One of the main things that contribute to truck accidents is when other vehicles follow too closely behind the truck. When you do this, you are most likely in the truck’s blind spot, and you do not have adequate time to stop if the truck stops suddenly or changes lanes. This is also important when the truck is turning, as trucks need to make much wider turns.
  • Avoid blind spots: Along with providing the truck with adequate space, you also want to avoid driving too closely on the sides. When you are driving on the side of a truck, you’re most likely weaving in and out of blind spots, so it is possible that the truck driver doesn’t know you are there.
  • Signal Correctly: When you are changing lanes or merging, you need to signal in advance to let the truck driver know what you are doing. Large trucks take longer to stop, so you do not want to cut off a truck, which could result in a severe accident.
  • Be aware of distracted driving: When you are driving around large trucks, you should try to be mindful of how the driver is behaving and if they are driving recklessly. If you believe that the truck driver is fatigued or isn’t paying attention, you will want to be extra cautious and stay away from the vehicle.

No matter what you do, there is still a risk of getting into a truck accident, depending on how the truck driver behaves. If you are the victim of a truck accident, you need to hire a truck accident lawyer who can help you file a claim and negotiate with the trucking company and the insurance provider. Your attorney can help you investigate potential violations, as trucking companies need to be held accountable, especially if their drivers are not complying with federal regulations.

It is also critical to hire a truck accident attorney in Washington, as these cases can be a bit more complex. In a truck driving accident, the fault could fall on the trucking company and the truck driver, or it could fall on both.

Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney at Henderson Taylor Law Firm

Getting into an accident with a truck is not only a very scary experience; it can have long-term repercussions when it comes to extensive property damage and injuries. Even though truck drivers have to follow certain regulations, there are many situations where these regulations may be disregarded, resulting in an accident.

At Henderson Taylor Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys are committed to defending the downtrodden and advocating for truck accident victims. For expert legal representation from one of our lawyers, contact us today at 360-737-1478 or fill out our online form.