If you get nervous around semi-trucks and other large vehicles on the road, you are not alone. Truck accidents can be extremely dangerous, so your instincts aren’t wrong, either. Instead of being afraid, however, you can implement some safety tips and actively reduce the risk of a collision.
We’ve compiled and summarized them below for your convenience:
Tip #1: Beware of Blind Spots
Truck drivers have blind spots on all 4 sides of their vehicles. Give large trucks 20 feet of space when they are behind you and 30 feet of space when you are behind them. Try not to drive directly next to large trucks and if you can’t see the driver in the side mirror, assume they cannot see you.
Tip #2: Pass With Class
Never “cut off” a commercial vehicle. You could end up in a blind spot, and even if the driver sees you, they may not have time to stop. Large trucks and buses take 40% longer to stop than passenger vehicles, so you should always give them extra space.
When you do need to pass, make sure you can see the driver in their side mirror, signal clearly, and move into the left lane. Once you’re there, speed up and pass the truck without lingering in the blind spot. Before you pull in front of a truck, make sure the entire vehicle is visible in your rearview mirror and give the truck as much extra space as possible. Never pass on the right and avoid passing on downgrades.
If a bus or truck wants to pass you, slow down and stay to the right. Allow extra space when trucks are changing lanes or merging.
Tip #3: Take Note of Turns
Semi-trucks and other large vehicles have a 55-foot turning radius, so they may swing wide or start a turn from the middle lane. Never put yourself between a turning vehicle and the curb and be mindful of where you stop at intersections. Try to stop at or slightly behind the line, so buses and trucks can turn safely.
Tip #4: Avoid Aggressive Driving
Large trucks can be slow and take up a lot of space on the road, so it’s easy to get frustrated. Nevertheless, you need to be patient. Do not tailgate a truck or bus. Doing so could not only put you in a blind spot but also lead to your vehicle being pushed underneath the truck in a crash.
Remember that trucks and buses need time to accelerate and sometimes have their speeds limited by traffic laws and technology. Honking is not going to help, nor is weaving in and out of traffic or any kind of aggressive driving. Conversely, these behaviors can distract truck drivers and other drivers on the road and lead to dangerous accidents.
Tip #5: Control What You Can
When you are on the road, you cannot control the behavior of others, but you can control your own actions. Always wear a seatbelt and seat children in the back seat – buckled up or in car seats. Avoid distractions whenever possible, and if something else needs your attention, pull over before you take care of it. Make sure you are sober and well-rested whenever you get behind the wheel and never drive when you are drowsy, distracted, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Driving around large trucks can be nerve-wracking and frustrating at times, but you have the power to reduce your risk of accidents. Unfortunately, you cannot control the actions of negligent truck drivers and shipping companies, so the only way to truly prevent a collision is to stay off the road altogether.
If you are injured or bereaved while taking all the precautions we outlined here, call Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin and tell us what happened. Our team has more than 200 years of combined experience and we can help you get through this difficult time and pursue the justice you deserve.