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Steven M. Lee, PC

Four Hazards of Following a Garbage Truck on the Highway or in Your Neighborhood


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2/17/2017
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No one likes to be stuck driving behind a garbage truck. Not only are they big and smelly, but they also routinely place others at risk for accidents. Plainly put, garbage trucks can be dangerous.

Unlike other large transport vehicles, these clunky machines are forced to steer through urban and suburban roads and everything in between. Furthermore, garbage pickup routes require unpredictable braking and stop-and-go traffic, depending on when and where the garbage is located. Consequently, these hazards cause garbage trucks to inadvertently place workers, drivers, and pedestrians at higher risk for serious accidents.

Major Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents

According to the United States Department of Labor, a significant number of garbage truck accidents occur as a result of machinery malfunctions and wind up injuring employees. However, despite the frequency of employee injuries, work-related accidents make up only a portion of reported garbage truck accidents. Due to their size and erratic traffic patterns, garbage trucks are prime candidates for collisions.

Fortunately, many garbage truck drivers are very good at controlling their rigs; however, no matter how good they are, accidents can always occur as a result of the following:

  • Stop-and-go traffic. If you’ve ever been stuck behind a garbage truck, you know that they’re slow and erratic with their stops. When driving near these behemoths, it’s essential to pay close attention to everything they are doing. If you want to pass, be 100 percent sure it is safe to do so and do not swerve around the truck out of frustration—keep your maneuvers calculated and straightforward so that the truck driver can anticipate your moves.
  • Unstable debris. For the most part, garbage trucks are built to hold all of the garbage they take in. However, some trash collectors will haphazardly throw waste into the truck and quickly speed away to the next stop. As a result, trash and debris can fly out of the truck without warning. Debris falling onto the road, into your car’s path, or directly onto your windshield can be impossible to avoid and may directly injure you or another vehicle occupant or cause you to steer into another vehicle.
  • Blind spots. Due to their size and lack of windows, garbage trucks have many blind spots. Although there are specific areas where a truck driver is less likely to see you, it’s best to assume that you’re in the driver’s blind spot no matter where your vehicle is positioned. If you spend too much time wondering if the driver might be able to see you, you run the risk of putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Just always proceed with caution.
  • Aggressive drivers. Driver negligence, whether caused by the truck driver or other traffic, is a frequent cause of garbage truck accidents. A driver may fail to look for other vehicles, may not use warning signals when backing up, may not stop at a sign or traffic signal, might not yield for a pedestrian, or may flat out not pay attention…and all of these can result in disastrous consequences. Our advice to you: drive defensively, keep your distance, and always pay attention when driving behind or near large garbage trucks.

Did we miss anything? What do you think are some major contributing factors to garbage truck accidents? Let us know in the comments section below. To move forward in your case and get the guidance you need to avoid a trashy claim offer, call our office today or click on the contact link on this page to learn more.



Category: Truck Accidents and DWI Accidents

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