July 18, 2023
Trucking Accident

Alabama’s economy thrives on its trucking industry, a vital lifeline for transporting goods throughout the state. With its extensive network of highways and infrastructure, Alabama experiences a constant and diverse flow of truck freight.

Drivers should understand each type of cargo and its associated risks to promote safe sharing of roads with these trucks, and to contribute to efficient and secure transportation supporting the state’s economy.

Most Common Truck Freight in Alabama

The trucking industry in Alabama is an integral part of the state’s economy, with trucks carrying 81.7% of the total manufactured tonnage in 2017, equivalent to a staggering 161,180 tons per day. Some 86.1% of Alabama’s communities rely exclusively on trucks for their goods transportation needs.

Livestock transportation, cement trucks, and flatbed trailers are among Alabama’s most common types of truck freight. Livestock transportation involves the movement of live animals, often requiring specialized vehicles and handling procedures to ensure their welfare and safety during transit.

Cement trucks are another familiar sight on Alabama’s roads. They transport wet cement to construction sites, enabling the construction industry to flourish across the state.

Flatbed trailers are widely used for transporting oversized or irregularly shaped cargo that cannot fit inside enclosed trailers. These trailers provide a versatile solution for hauling a variety of goods, including construction materials and machinery.

Understanding Truck Freight Risks in Alabama

Each type of truck freight comes with a unique set of risks to the cargo and other drivers on the road. To ensure safe and efficient transportation, it is essential to understand these risks and implement appropriate safety measures.

  • Risks of Livestock Transportation

Livestock transportation involves unique considerations to ensure the well-being of animals during transit. Adequate space and ventilation are necessary for animal welfare, while biosecurity measures, such as the transfer of health records and proper reporting of disease, help prevent the spread of pathogens.

Hygiene protocols and proper transport vehicle cleaning also help reduce disease transmission risks. Safety measures include minimizing sudden movements and ensuring proper animal restraint during loading and unloading.

  • Risks of Cement Truck Transportation

Cement truck transportation carries weight distribution, stability, and spillage risks. Improper weight distribution can compromise truck balance and maneuverability, leading to accidents or rollovers.

Adherence to safety regulations and maintenance procedures is crucial for preventing spills. Drivers must ensure even distribution of cement load within the mixing drum and exercise caution during maneuvers to prevent shifts in the load.

  • Risks of Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trailers require proper load securement to prevent accidents, road hazards, and vehicle damage. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules mandate that all trucks and tractors must be loaded and equipped to prevent cargo shifting and falling. Drivers should use straps, chains, and tie-downs to secure the cargo. Ensuring load distribution and balance is vital for transportation.

External factors like wind resistance also pose risks. Drivers should exercise caution in windy conditions by adjusting speed and allowing increased braking distance to prevent accidents caused by cargo shifting or loss of control.

How to Safely Share the Road with Freight Trucks?

Sharing the road with freight trucks requires heightened awareness and defensive driving maneuvers. The following techniques can help you stay safe when navigating around semis on Alabama’s roads and highways:

  • Maintain a safe distance: Keep a safe following distance between your vehicle and the truck ahead. Large trucks require more time and distance to stop; a gap of about 4 to 5 car lengths provides a buffer to react to sudden stops or emergencies.
  • Avoid blind spots: Trucks have large blind spots with limited driver visibility. Stay out of these blind spots, especially on the right side of the truck, which extends from immediately behind the cab and past the rear of the trailer. It also extends outward for two lanes. If you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, assume the driver can’t see you either. Either pass the truck quickly or drop back to a safe distance.
  • Use turn signals early: When approaching a truck, signal your intentions well in advance to give the driver ample time to anticipate your actions. This is especially important when changing lanes or passing the truck. Signal early, check your mirrors, and make the lane change or pass with caution.
  • Pass safely and efficiently: When passing a large truck, do so quickly and cautiously. Signal your intention, check your blind spots, and accelerate smoothly. Ensure you have enough clear road ahead before merging back into the lane in front of the truck. Avoid cutting off a truck; their size and weight require more time and distance to slow down.

By practicing these defensive driving techniques – maintaining a safe distance, staying out of blind spots, signaling intentions early, and passing trucks safely – you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and contribute to safer roadways for all. Remember, large freight trucks operate differently than smaller vehicles due to their size and weight, and adjusting your driving habits accordingly is a crucial part of sharing the road.

Contact The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers After a Large Truck Crash

Accidents can happen, despite drivers’ best efforts to prevent them. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident and need legal assistance, trust the Alabama truck accident lawyers at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers.

Our dedicated attorneys have more than 25 years of combined legal experience with complex truck accident cases. We will safeguard your rights and help you seek the settlement you deserve. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your options for compensation.

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