Working as a truck driver is not an easy career choice. Long hours hauling cargo can exhaust even veteran truck drivers, and it is also not uncommon to get a little lost when the GPS is not fully functioning. As such, truckers often pull off the side of the road to stop their vehicles and take a rest. But did you know that when truck drivers stop on the side of the road, they might be breaking the law and putting other motorists at a heightened risk of a truck wreck?
Where Can Big Rigs Stop?
It is unlawful for truck drivers to stop their vehicles roadside in most situations. Instead of being able to stop on any given shoulder like most drivers, they have to find a designated or pre-approved stopping point for their trucks. This is to prevent cluttering lanes of traffic or creating roadside obstructions that can increase the chances of other drivers getting into a crash
Most commercial trucks can only come to a stop in:
- Designated stopping areas specifically for trucks
- Temporary rest and overnight rest sites
- Large parking lots if it does not interfere with usual traffic
- Loading/unloading bays if permitted by the proprietor
If a commercial truck driver does need to come to an unplanned stop on the side of the road, such as after a blown tire or the engine overheats, then the trucker must do so carefully and while following safety protocols. The trailer needs to be angled away from traffic if possible, and bright traffic warning triangles must be placed intermittently. Typically, triangles must be placed 10, 100, and 200 feet behind the trailer or box truck, and 100 feet in front of the cab. A truck driver should also use reflectors and road flares at night if doing so would make their vehicle more visible without distracting or blinding approaching vehicles.
Where Truckers Should Not Stop
Truck drivers should not stop their vehicle on:
- Exit ramps or off-ramps
- Entrance ramps or on-ramps
- Small parking lots
- Shoulders not designated for that purpose
A truck that stops on an entrance ramp or incline is especially dangerous because it will struggle to reach highway speeds when it starts again. As the truck lugs itself up the incline, merging drivers might misjudge the unexpectedly slow speed of the truck and collide with it or another motorist who is swerving to get out of its way.
Suing for Accidents Caused by Stopped Trucks
Even though a truck is completely stopped, its driver and his employer could be liable for a crash if the truck’s position on or beside the road caused it. If possible and safe to do so, take plenty of photographs of the scene, so that the truck’s position is clear. You are entitled to compensation for your damages, but, as soon as possible, you should have a skilled negotiator or attorney to deal with the defendants in order to bring you justice.
Murray & Murray offers legal counsel to truck accident victims and their families in Sandusky, Ohio. Contact us now if you were hit by a truck or were in an accident caused by a truck that was unlawfully stopped by the side of the road.