A devastating truck accident can happen at any moment in Maine. What can you do to protect yourself when driving among semis, 18-wheelers, and big rigs?
Here's what Mainers need to know.
Routine traffic stop leads to tragedy
The tragic accident that took the life of Maine State Police Detective Benjamin J. Campbell still resonates with the law enforcement community and his loved ones 2 years later.
On April 3, 2019, Detective Campbell stopped his cruiser to assist the driver of a disabled vehicle on I-95 in Hampden at about 7:30 a.m. He was standing in the breakdown lane when two wheels separated from a passing tractor-trailer logging truck. One of the wheels struck Campbell, and he was taken by ambulance to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor where he was later pronounced dead.
On April 4, 2021, Maine State Police honored the memory of their fallen brother.
“We are bound to serve and protect and there are people out there who need your help,” the agency posted on Twitter. “Do your job. Do not falter. Keep yourselves as safe as you can, but brothers and sisters, come hell or high water or flying wheels, you hold the line. And if you are ever in doubt of what is right or afraid of what might happen, and you seek some higher purpose or greater meaning in any of this or need a reason to do what needs to be done, here's one, because Ben Campbell did and that's good enough for us.”
Detective Campbell would have turned 34 on April 8. He left behind a wife, Hillary, and a son, Everett.
The death of Detective Campbell underscores the dangers of sharing the highway with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles.
Some tips for keeping yourself safe include:
Avoid distracted driving
The 5 seconds you take to read or send a text could be the difference between life and death if the big rig ahead of you suddenly brakes or changes lanes.
Do not cut off trucks
Because of their size and weight, trucks cannot stop or maneuver as easily as other passenger vehicles. Make sure to give them enough room.
Do not tailgate
A rear-end collision could mean your car getting stuck and crushed under the rear end of the truck's trailer in an underride crash. The area directly behind a tractor-trailer is one of the trucker's blind spots.
Know the location of trucks in traffic so you can anticipate potential trouble. Since truckers generally prefer to travel in the middle lane, you can drive in the left or right lane to avoid getting stuck behind a big rig.
Avoid a truck’s blind spots
Never drive right next to or immediately behind an 18-wheeler. These are often referred to as "no zones" because if you cannot see the trucker’s face in their side-view mirror, they cannot see you. This also means passing trucks safely, but quickly.
Give them turning room
Large commercial trucks require more space to turn, which is especially important to keep in mind at intersections. Always keep an eye out for a tractor-trailer with its turn signals on, and don't stop beyond stop lines at intersections so a trucker has enough room to make a turn.
Call a Maine truck accident lawyer if you've been injured or a loved one died in a crash
Even if you take every precaution, negligence by a trucker or trucking company can cause a crash that results in severe injury or death. To make matters worse, there are often multiple insurance companies involved in these types of cases, making it extremely difficult for victims to navigate the claims process.
Trucking companies also have high-limit insurance policies and teams of lawyers to protect their bottom line, meaning you're at a severe disadvantage if you try to take them on by yourself.
At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, our law firm has been helping injured Mainers since 1974. With a staff of over 40 professionals, we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to successfully pursue justice and a fair financial settlement for you and your family.
Learn how an experienced truck accident lawyer in Maine can help you by contacting us today for a free consultation. We have a statewide practice with offices in Sanford, Biddeford, Portland, Windham, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bangor. If you or a loved one can’t come to us, we’ll be happy to meet you at a convenient location of your choice.