One in six drivers on Florida highways do not feel confident sharing the road with semitrucks, and 1 in 5 mistakenly believe that at highway speeds, a big rig can come to a complete stop in less than seven seconds. These are among the key findings of a survey conducted by leading Florida law firm Farah & Farah to analyze public awareness of sharing the road with semitrucks, part of the firm’s mission to educate the community about safe driving.
The survey found that even though more than 80% of Floridians recognize the hazards they need to be aware of when driving near a semitruck, just 46% say they feel “very confident” in their ability to drive safely near the massive vehicles.
“As an attorney who has handled countless tractor-trailer accidents, I’ve seen that many crashes are preventable,” said Farah & Farah personal injury attorney Matthew Grossman. “By informing the public on proper road rules and tips on how to interact with semitrucks, we can potentially save thousands of lives, which is so much better than helping pick up the pieces after a tragedy.”
The survey results illustrate the need for a push for smarter, safer driving. An American Trucking Association study found that 81% of the time, it’s automobile drivers – not big rig drivers – who cause crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles. Under perfect conditions, it takes at least 10 seconds for a semitruck to come to a complete stop – but the Farah & Farah survey found that 20% of Floridians think it takes just 7 seconds or less.
While truck accidents happen less often than passenger vehicle accidents, the impacts are more severe and devastating, both physically and financially. A significant reason for these crashes, as well as car drivers’ lack of confidence, is a lack of awareness about how big rigs operate.
Due to their large loads, semitrucks can be up to 20 times heavier than a regular vehicle and much more challenging to operate.
To help keep everyone safe, Farah & Farah shared the following advice for driving safely around semitrucks – tips that could ultimately save a life:
- Pass a semitruck quickly and carefully, keeping in mind the larger vehicle’s blind spots
- The biggest blind spot for a big rig is its right side, which can sometimes block the driver’s view for three or more lanes
- Avoid driving directly in front of a semi’s cab, behind the trailer, and in certain zones along the driver’s side
- Make sure to stay in a truck driver’s line of sight as much as possible
- Turn on your turn signal at least three seconds before changing lanes near a semitruck – this timing allows the truck driver to slow down or move over
- Take time when merging in front of a semitruck, making sure you can see the entire front end of the truck before making your move
- Give semitrucks enough room when you’re driving behind or in front of them to avoid the risk of collision
“Inevitably, when accidents do occur there will be disagreement between the drivers over who is at fault,” said Grossman. “Drivers can really help their case by having and using a dashcam, which can be the deciding factor in determining whether someone is liable in an accident. Even if a dashcam is not available, it is important to document the crash by taking several photographs of the vehicles and of the scene so an expert can help reconstruct the incident and place the blame on the proper party.”
The survey was conducted as part of Farah & Farah’s “Summer Crash Course,” a public awareness campaign that launched earlier this summer to help reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents across the state.
“With the increase in summer traffic, we want the public to be even more cautious and use safe driving practices when navigating the roads around large vehicles,” said Chuck Farah, senior partner of Farah & Farah. “Our goal with this survey is simple and direct: to save lives. With the number of large trucks on the road steadily increasing as more and more people use delivery services for their shopping, it’s vital for everyone to stay vigilant while sharing the road with semitrucks.”
For more information about safe driving, visit farahandfarah.com/blog/100-deadliest-days-teen-driving-summer-crash-course.
About Farah & Farah
For more than 40 years, Farah & Farah, a personal injury law firm, has fought insurance companies and corporations to protect the rights of injured people and their families. Farah & Farah has 16 office locations throughout Florida and Georgia, and has made recoveries for clients in excess of $1 billion. Under the leadership of managing partners, brothers Eddie and Chuck Farah, the dedicated team of attorneys and staff prioritize listening to the needs of clients and treating all clients with dignity and respect. Follow us @farahandfarah (Twitter), @farah_and_farah (Instagram), @FarahAndFarah (FB), Farah & Farah (YouTube), and farahandfarah.com.
About the Survey
The survey that yielded these results was conducted for Farah & Farah, March 12-15, 2021 interviewing 600 Floridians. The survey’s margin of error was +/- 4.0% and the results are representative of Florida voters in terms of age, race, gender, political affiliation, and region of state.