When navigating roads packed with semi-trucks, it’s necessary to apply caution and defensive driving techniques to ensure your safety.
According to the Denver Post, truck crashes are killing more people than they were a decade ago. After the infamous devastating and explosive Denver truck accident on I-70 in April, there is no hiding from this troubling reality.
Throughout the United States, there has been a rise in fatal crashes involving large trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there has been a 42 percent increase in such incidents from 2009 to 2017.
In Colorado, those numbers don’t look any better.
Actually, they look worse.
In 2009, there were 35 fatal crashes. In 2017, 87 people died in 80 fatal Denver truck accidents.
Driver error is the predominant factor in most crashes. However, those making errors aren’t just truckers. In fact, it’s more often the fault of drivers in surrounding vehicles due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving recklessly, or smartphone distractions. Sadly, when distracted drivers inadvertently tangle with semi-trucks, the damage is amplified.
“We hold this industry to a higher standard for safety, and we agree with that — we should, because we recognize there’s a higher consequence for accidents,” says Greg Fulton, the president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association.
In the US, there are roughly 12 million registered trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds. And, that’s before they’re loaded up with cargo.
Though there might not always be a way to safely avoid a Denver truck accident, reviewing some essential defensive driving tips could save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
And, when such tactics still don’t keep you out of the way of a semi-truck, having the right car accident lawyer could make all the difference when it comes to your settlement.
The Worst Denver Truck Accidents
It’s hard to examine the tragedy caused by Denver truck accidents. There is the communal tragedy, and there is the personal tragedy.
By default, the news looks at how many people were killed and how many people were injured. Though such criteria for these events downplays the impacts any accident can have on a person and a family, it does highlight how frightening and dangerous the roads in Colorado can be.
Four Killed in Fiery Pileup
The deadliest Denver truck accident in recent history was the fiery pileup that killed four people and injured six on I-70.
On April 25, 2019, a semi-truck plowed into a traffic jam near Colorado Mills Parkway at 85 miles per hour. The accident entangled 24 cars and four semi-trucks. The driver Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, was charged with 35 felonies for his role in the collision, including four counts of vehicular homicide.
Police have stated that there is no evidence of drugs or alcohol in Aguilera-Mederos system at the time of the crash. Investigators are attempting to determine if any mechanical problems prevented Aguilera-Mederos from safely stopping the vehicle.
Mother and Son Killed
In October 2019, a mother and her baby boy were killed on their way to visit an aquarium. The sedan they were driving collided with a semi-truck on Weld County Road 74.
According to someone who arrived at the scene immediately after the accident, the truck driver told him that the sedan of 20-year-old Adrianna Lyzette Lopez Varela crossed the center of the road, allegedly making the collision unavoidable.
Dump Truck Involved in Fatal Crash
Not all big-truck fatalities in Colorado involve semi-trucks. In Weld County, one person was killed and three injured in a three-vehicle crash that included a dump truck.
The October 23 tragedy occurred on Highway 85 and Weld County Road 6, about four miles south of Fort Lupton.
3 Defensive Driving Tips to Avoid Denver Truck Accidents
Truck drivers — especially those just learning the ropes in Colorado — are trained to drive defensively and brake effectively. Though that might not always be the case, it is at least a cornerstone of their profession.
Most others on the road are less trained to drive their vehicles defensively and safely. However, you don’t have to be one of them.
There are safety driving courses you can take to improve your chances of avoiding a fatal or debilitating Denver truck accident when you’re behind the wheel. Though, in reality, by following a handful of defensive driving tips, you can improve your chances of reacting optimally to a potentially dangerous situation on the road.
#1: Slow Down
One of the most important defensive driving techniques is slowing down. Getting someplace late is much better than never getting there at all. In 2018, speeding killed 9,378 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Not only is speeding against the law, but increased speeds also increase the amount of time you have to stop and the amount of time you have to react to a dangerous situation. As long as you are going the speed limit, sticking to the flow of traffic, and allowing plenty of buffer space between you and the car ahead of you, you can help prevent accidents.
#2: Focus on the Road
Driving while distracted led to 3,166 deaths in 2017, making it another major killer on American roads and a contributor to Denver truck accidents. Distracted driving includes everything from messing with your navigation system and drinking a coffee to texting or talking on your phone. Basically, it’s anything that pulls your attention away from the road.
According to the NHTSA, the most alarming distraction is texting, as reading or sending a text means taking your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds.
“At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed,” the NHTSA states.
#3: Expect Other Drivers to Make Mistakes
Expecting other drivers to mess up is the heart of defensive driving. When you are expecting other drivers to make mistakes, you will instinctively start to brake sooner and create safer buffers around your vehicle.
Along these same lines, when in doubt, you should yield. By yielding in questionable situations, you ensure your safety and the safety of the passengers rather than hoping that the other driver doesn’t make a mistake and hit you in an intersection.
Final Thoughts: Avoid Denver Truck Accidents with Defensive Driving Techniques
Of course, if you’re sitting in a traffic jam on I-70 waiting for your turn to move forward while a semi-truck is barreling downhill at 85 mph at you, there’s nothing you can do. Tragically, some Denver truck crashes are unavoidable.
If you find yourself a victim of a truck accident or any accident, having a top Denver car accident attorney is essential to ensure you are fairly compensated. Manning Law not only specializes in vehicle accident law, but specializes in car, motorcycle, and truck accidents.
Contact us today for a free consultation!