The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all heavy trailer manufacturers to equip their products with red and white retroreflective tape and reflectors at the rear and around the sides. These safety features are designed to make heavy trailers more visible to other drivers and reduce the risk of accidents.
Research by the NHTSA indicates the tape and reflectors work well in the dark. The tape warns other drivers about the presence of a heavy trailer by reflecting off the headlights of other vehicles. Because the tape has a distinctive red and white pattern, it also helps other drivers judge how far away they are from a trailer.
However, the tape and reflectors do not reduce the risk of accidents in all lighting conditions. In daylight, dark-lighted, dusk and dawn conditions, these safety features did not significantly reduce the number of crashes involving heavy trailers. Additionally, dirt on the retroreflective tape reduces its effectiveness.
Motorists should use caution when driving around heavy trailers, especially in lighting conditions when retroreflective tape and reflectors are not as effective. Because the right side of a truck is the most difficult for a truck driver to see, drivers should avoid passing trucks on the right side. Motorists should also avoid driving too close to the end of a tractor trailer or other big truck. Not only does this reduce the risk of rear-end collisions, it reduces the risk of serious injuries and deaths should a piece of equipment or cargo fall off a truck.
These safety tips should help drivers recognize the risks associated with driving near heavy trailers and big rigs. However, a negligent truck driver can cause an accident even if you take every possible precaution on the road. The Omaha truck accident attorneys at Cullan & Cullan have a track record of success in handling large truck and big rig accident cases. Both personal injury attorneys are also physicians, giving us the medical expertise needed to review injury-related reports and develop a case strategy. Contact Cullan & Cullan at 1-402-397-7600 today for a free review of your case.