We often hear the term “major vehicle accident” in news reports and police briefings, but what does it really mean? A major vehicle accident implies a significant incident involving one or more vehicles.
Motor vehicle accidents can be catastrophic, especially when they involve pedestrians and cyclists who are notably more vulnerable. These accidents typically result in severe damage to the vehicles, serious injuries, or even loss of life.
The Severity of Large Truck Accidents in the U.S.
Many major vehicle accidents also involve larger commercial vehicles — such as trucks or delivery vans — and they are marked as “CMV” in police reports.
These types of crashes are reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates commercial vehicle traffic and safety. Other types of reportable crashes include accidents involving trucks with a weight rating of over 10,000 pounds, a motor vehicle designed for eight or more people, and vehicles that caused accidents leading to fatalities, injuries, or tow-away vehicles.
According to commercial vehicle statistics from the FMCSA, although large trucks involved in injury crashes dropped by 10 percent, the total number still reached around 107,000 in 2021. However, a total of 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal commercial vehicle accidents. This marked an alarming 18% increase from the previous year.
10 Tips for Pedestrians and Cyclists To Avoid CMV Accidents
Trucking accidents are a grave issue due to the sheer size and weight of the vehicles involved. Regardless of the category of the accidents — whether it is unintended, unpredictable, or preventable — these often end up resulting in severe or fatal consequences, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.
Safety should be your priority when sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Here are ten essential tips to help prevent accidents and ensure everyone’s well-being.
1. Stay Visible
One of the most effective ways to avoid commercial vehicle accidents is by ensuring you are easily visible to drivers. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing, especially during low-light conditions, to enhance visibility. You should also consider adding some reflective accessories or front and rear lights to your bicycle or wear reflective bands on your limbs.
2. Use Designated Areas
Try to cross the roads and intersections at designated crosswalks and pedestrian crossings whenever possible. More importantly, if you are on a bicycle, make sure to stick to dedicated bike lanes when available. Following these guidelines ensures that commercial vehicle drivers anticipate the presence of pedestrians and cyclists, reducing the likelihood of accidents.
3. Make Eye Contact
If you need to cross in front of a commercial vehicle, make eye contact with the driver to ensure they see you before proceeding. This simple gesture ensures that the driver acknowledges your presence. This alone goes a long way towards promoting safer interactions between pedestrians, cyclists, and commercial vehicles.
4. Avoid Blind Spots
Make sure to stay clear of a commercial vehicle’s blind spots, also known as “No-Zones.” These areas are not visible to the driver through their mirrors, making them potentially hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists.
5. Give Adequate Space
When walking or cycling near commercial vehicles, maintain a safe distance to allow for sudden stops or turns. Allow enough space to account for their longer stopping distances and wider turns. This precautionary measure is essential for avoiding collisions or becoming trapped between the vehicle and obstacles.
6. Obey Traffic Rules
One of the most important safety precautions is to follow all traffic signals and signs — especially waiting for the appropriate signal before crossing the road. Do your best to obey all traffic rules, signals, and signs whether you are walking or cycling. Please make sure to pay close attention to traffic lights, pedestrian signals, and stop signs. It’s important to cross roads only when it’s safe to do so.
7. Signal Your Intentions
As a cyclist, it’s important to use hand signals to let drivers know your intentions. By clearly indicating your turns and stops, you help commercial vehicle drivers anticipate your movements and adjust accordingly.
8. Stay Off Electronic Devices
Whether you’re walking or cycling, avoid distractions like using smartphones or wearing headphones. Having your headphones on might make you miss the honking of a truck or the shouts of the people around you to clear out of the way. Staying fully aware of your surroundings enhances your ability to react to potential hazards, including approaching commercial vehicles.
9. Be Cautious Around Trucks Turning
Exercise extreme caution when a truck is turning, as they have a wider turning radius. Avoid getting caught between the truck and the curb or other obstacles. If a truck is signaling and slowly turning, do not try to cross the street, regardless of which side you may be coming from as they may not notice you.
10. Exercise Caution at Intersections
Intersections are high-risk areas for accidents involving commercial vehicles. Exercise caution when crossing or cycling through intersections and always yield the right-of-way as needed.
What To Do When Accidents Still Arise
Despite all precautions, accidents can still happen. A large truck or 18-wheeler can suddenly lose control and cause accidents to no fault of your own. Knowing what to do next can help protect your legal rights and ensure due compensation.
Make sure to file an accident report with local law enforcement regarding the crash. This way you’ll have important documentation that is crucial evidence if you decide to take legal action..
More importantly, find a reliable truck accident lawyer. Our attorneys are well-versed in truck accident laws and regulations. We know the commercial vehicle accident procedure like the back of our hand. If it comes down to it, we can help you navigate the complex legal landscape involving a commercial vehicle accident lawsuit.
They’ll be able to represent your best interests, evaluate the impact of the accident on your life, and fight to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve. Dealing with insurance companies without legal representation can sometimes result in a commercial vehicle accident settlement that doesn’t fully cover your medical bills, lost wages, and suffering.
By following these safety tips, pedestrians and cyclists can significantly reduce the risk of accidents involving commercial vehicles. Always remember that road safety is a shared responsibility, and being mindful of one another’s presence is crucial for a safer and more pleasant commuting experience for everyone.
At the same time, safety precautions sadly do not prevent accidents from ever happening. If you were involved in an 18 wheeler truck accident, head to our dedicated truck accident page to speak with a lawyer. Reach out to us today.