Interstate 40 Auto Accident Injury Blog

Semi truck makers working on 'platoon' technology to save gas

We would not be surprised to see a bunch of self-driving cars and tractor-trailers on Interstate 40 in the next 10 to 20 years. Until then, we will have to drive carefully and trust that everyone else on Arkansas’ highways is doing the same.

At the same time, vehicle technology continues to advance. One of the latest innovations that the trucking industry is touting is a way to save millions of dollars on fuel -- but possibly putting those of us in cars and motorcycles at greater risk.

Why sleepy drivers are so dangerous

Drowsy driving is a national crisis. In a 2005 study, 37 percent of adult drivers admitted falling asleep behind the wheel at least once; 13 percent said it happened to them at least once a month.

That represents millions of people dozing on America’s roads and highways every year. Many of them are on Interstate 40, here in Arkansas. Fatigued drivers put everyone in danger of a catastrophic car accident and, as a result, permanent disability or death.

The Dangers Of Speeding

It happens all the time: you are driving on Interstate 40 when another vehicle zooms past you going way over the speed limit. Chronic speeders put everyone in danger of catastrophic injury in a violent highway collision.

Speeding is a major safety problem in Arkansas and across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on its website that speeding was a factor in 28 percent of all fatal U.S. car accidents in 2014, causing a total of 9,262 deaths.

Keep An Eye Open For Truckers This Independence Day Weekend

Whatever day it falls on -- weekday or weekend -- most US employees will not spend July 4 at work. Instead, they will hit America's highways and byways on their way to barbecues and fireworks displays. There are, however, employees who rarely get holidays and who warrant special scrutiny by America's motorists this weekend: truck drivers. While they should be given wide berth on any given day of the year, an argument could be made that big rig drivers should be watched especially closely on holidays, as they may be tempted to cut corners in terms of safety, often times at the urging of their employers, the trucking companies.

Truck company owners are notorious for exploiting their drivers
by forcing them to drive trucks that are dangerous because of delayed or ignored maintenance that affect safety, so they can improve their bottom line. Also there's such a shortage of drivers, these companies often hire inexperienced truckers who never get adequate training. Instead they are forced to work in a results-oriented culture where all the companies care about is delivering their loads on time, then picking up the next load. These companies may also encourage their drivers to lie on their log books about the amount of time they spend sleeping, thus flouting federal regulations and safety.So what's a motorist to do? Here are some tips to get you safely to and back from your Fourth of July festivities: Maintain at least one-car length distance (or roughly 10 feet) between you and the truck you are following for every 10 mph of speed. In other words, if you are driving at 60 mph, keep at least 60 feet back, or six car lengths. If you aren't good at estimating distance, try the counting the number of seconds between when a truck passes a fixed object such as a bridge or light post, and when you pass that same object. (Count "one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand," etc.) If you can't get the words "two-one-thousand" out of your mouth before you pass the object, you are too close and need to drop back If the conditions are slippery or otherwise more hazardous, you will need to increase this distance to 10-seconds behind the truck When passing a truck on the left, don't pull back over into the right lane until you can see his entire cab in your rearview mirror Under no circumstances drive so closely to the truck that you can't see their rear view mirrors. Remember: If you can't see his mirrors, he can't see you! If at all possible, never pass a truck on the right; because of a bigger blind spot, it's simply much more difficult for truck drivers to see passenger cars on the right. After passing a truck, accelerate away to create at least one car-length space for every 10 mph you are travelling, even if it means you may temporarily have to speed. This will give him a greater margin of error should he become distracted and suddenly need to stop quickly. (He may jack-knife but at least he won't end up in your back seat!) Report any truck that is driving erratically to the state police by calling 911 Remember that trucks often turn a bit left before turning right, and vice-versa, so their trailers don't jump the curb or otherwise cut the corner. Keep that in mind when passing them. Generally speaking, always drive as far away from a tractor-trailer as you possibly can and not impede traffic. In a collision, you will always get the worse end of the deal and that's no way to celebrate the birth of our country this Independence Day Weekend. 

How do wrong-way highway accidents happen?

Imagine you are driving on Interstate 40 one night when suddenly you see the headlights of another vehicle coming straight for you. Perhaps nothing is scarier than a driver going the wrong way on the interstate, because the odds are good that he or she will cause a deadly car accident.

Though the following tragedy did not happen in Arkansas, it is a sad example of what can happen when a motorist ends up on the wrong side of I-40 or another Arkansas highway.

Why fatalities are so common on Arkansas's highways

Recent data shows that driving in Arkansas is more dangerous than in most other states. Namely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we have the 6th-highest death rate for drivers and passengers of motor vehicles. For every 100,000 travelers, Arkansas sees nearly 14 fatalities. The U.S. average is less than half that.

A major factor is the number of semi-trucks that pass through our state. Arkansas serves as an important commercial thoroughfare, and tractor-trailers hauling goods across the country - whether east-west or north-south - are a frequent cause of accidents along the I-40 and I-30 corridors.

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