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Big Rigs Parked on the Shoulder: Are They Safe?


18-wheeler parked on highway

It is common to see big-rigs pulled to the side of the road, especially along highways. While much of the time it causes no problem, accidents can occur because of improperly parked trucks. Truck drivers pull to the shoulder for many reasons. Often, they stop on the side of the road to check a mechanical problem with the vehicle. Other times they may have a tire blowout. Other times, a driver pulls to the shoulder to rest when he or she becomes too tired to continue driving or to eat or simply take a break.

It can be difficult for other drivers to see trucks parked along the shoulder of the road. This is especially true in areas where there are hills or where there is poor lighting. Drivers may be unaware of the vehicle and could crash into it. Unfortunately, when a car crashes into the back of a truck, the accident may cause severe injuries or fatalities. Depending on the speed and angle of impact, the roof of the vehicle could be sheared off.

Rules for Safe Shoulder Parking

Truck drivers must follow Texas law when pulling to the side of the road. Regardless of the reason, truck drivers must use their hazard lights when pulled to the shoulder. Besides hazard flashers, truck drivers must place warning devices around the truck. These cones, triangles or flares must be placed around the vehicle within 10 minutes after it is parked.

Usually trucks and other vehicles may not remain parked on the side of the road. If the vehicle is disabled, the driver must tow the vehicle from the side of the road soon.

Commercial 18-wheelers must have underride guards installed. These guards keep other vehicles from running underneath in a rear-end collision. However, not all under guards are found to provide the protection necessary, even in crashes that occur at relatively low speeds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is addressing revision of the laws to require the use of more protective bars.

What to do after a Crash with a Parked Big Rig

Most people assume that if they crashed into the rear of a semi-truck, the accident is automatically their fault. That may not necessarily be the case. If the truck driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer was negligent, they could be held responsible. In Texas, you may have compensation even if you were partly to blame for the accident if you are not 51% or more at fault.  See: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.33.htm

After an accident, always call the police. They will investigate the crash and interview witnesses. Seek medical attention and keep all of your medical records and bills. Contact an experienced attorney to review your case. If the other driver was negligent, you might recover money for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.

We have handled accidents with parked trucks for over three decades. Contact the 18-wheeler truck accident lawyers in Houston at Baumgartner Law Firm to discuss the details of your case today or visit our truck accident page: https://baumgartnerlawyers.com/houston-truck-accident-lawyer/

Call 281-587-1111 to speak to a leading 18-wheeler truck accident attorney in Houston.



Additional resource:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute