Pass With Care – The Legal Way to Share the Road With Garbage Trucks

Garbage trucks play an essential role in keeping neighborhoods clean. But like other trucks, they can be a hazard for road users considering you have to share roads with them, even in residential places where you are less likely to find other trucks. 

How you navigate a garbage truck often determines your safety when sharing the road with them. But worry not, as this guide highlights tips on sharing the road with trucks.

Understand State Laws

Some states have special rules for garbage trucks, meaning they may not have to abide by the same rules as other drivers. For example, garbage trucks can park or move within bicycle lanes when collecting garbage. They are also permitted to stop on the curb or the roadway. 

Some states require drivers to move a lane over when there is a stopped garbage truck with amber lights on. Accidents that occur when you violate local laws concerning essential services vehicles can have you being at fault, which also means you lose out on compensation. 

Leave a Wide Following Distance

Garbage trucks can be pretty unpredictable since they must make several stops and maneuvers along the way. So it is best to leave a wide following distance when driving behind one. 

They also do not have much cargo restraint, especially in older trucks which could mean debris could fly out of the truck and onto the road creating a hazard. Leaving a wide distance allows you enough reaction time in the event of the truck’s sudden braking or debris spilling from the truck.

Overtake Only When It Is Safe

Unlike other trucks that stay mainly on major highways, garbage trucks go everywhere, even on narrow roads. Driving behind one when the road is relatively busy can be frustrating, and you may want to overtake them the first chance you get. No matter how much pressure you have to get ahead, it is only best to overtake when it is safe while maintaining the speeds stipulated for the sections of the roads. 

Leave Earlier

If you are in a hurry, your chances of wanting to make risky moves will be significantly high. The best approach is to leave 10 minutes earlier on garbage collection days. This way, you will have extra time and thus be less likely to make dangerous moves in a rush. 

Who Is Liable in a Garbage Truck Accident?

Garbage trucks may be subject to special treatment, but that doesn’t absolve the garbage Collection Company or driver from responsibility. Liability for garbage truck accidents largely depends on what caused the accident. 

Truck Company Liability 

If it is caused by driver error, liability for the accident will fall on the garbage Collection Company or agency under the doctrine of vicarious liability. 

The garbage truck company will also be liable for an accident that results from poor truck maintenance.

Third-Party Liability

There are situations where a third party may be liable for an accident, for example, where a truck’s defect is the cause. Under such circumstances, the truck manufacturer or the faulty part maker will be liable for the accident. 

Another situation where a third party may be liable for an accident is where poor road maintenance is the cause of the accident. Under such circumstances, the governmental agency responsible for road maintenance will be liable for the accident.

A Lawyer Can Help

Navigating garbage truck accident cases can get pretty complicated, especially when the local government owns the truck. So it is a good idea to work with reliable garbage truck accident lawyers, such as lawyers affiliated with Munley Law, when navigating your case. 

Even when the trucking company is privately owned, getting a lawyer is still a good idea, especially if the injuries suffered are severe.

Final Words

You cannot avoid sharing the road with garbage trucks. But with the precautions highlighted above, you can significantly reduce the chances of getting into an accident with them. 

If, in the unfortunate event, you get in one, a lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and maximize your chances of getting fair compensation for your damages. 

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