Every day, thousands of semi-trucks share the road with passenger vehicles. These commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and take much more distance to safely stop compared to the average 4,000-pound car. Because of the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks, it’s important for other drivers to be well aware of the dangers of sharing the road with big-rigs and other large trucks. Here are some ways you can drive smart around commercial trucks and avoid serious truck accidents.
Pass With Care
Passing a commercial truck is often necessary, but it can be risky if you aren’t careful. When passing a truck, you should always pass on the left side, and never the right. Drivers expect to be passed on the left side, and the blind spot on the left is much smaller than the one on the right. Pass when you have plenty of space to pass the truck, and always pass quickly. Don’t cut off the truck if you merge back into their lane, and never linger beside a truck.
Give Trucks Space
Semi-trucks are quite larger, which means they need considerably more space to make maneuvers and stop. Squeezing in next to trucks that are making wide right turns can result in an accident when the tail end of the trailer makes the turn. Cutting off trucks can lead to particularly deadly override accidents, where a truck runs over the top of the vehicle ahead of it, crushing the car underneath the heavy truck. If you’re following a truck too closely, you may be involved in an underride accident, where your car wedges underneath the trailer.
Give trucks plenty of space when following them or merging in front of them. A good rule of thumb is to see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview before merging into their lane. When following a truck, stay back far enough that you can see the side mirrors. Trucks make wide turns, so it can be tempting to squeeze into the open space next to them, but it’s much safer to leave that space clear for maneuvering.
Know Where You Can Be Seen by Truck Drivers
Every vehicle has blind spots, but for semi-trucks, these spaces can be large enough to hide an SUV—or two. Understanding where the blind spots are around semi-trucks can help you ensure that you are seen by truck drivers. Here are the blind spots of most large commercial trucks:
- Directly behind the trailer, extending back to the point where a driver following a semi-truck can see the mirrors of the truck cab.
- Behind the driver on either side of the vehicle. There is a wedge of space where you aren’t visible in the mirror or the driver’s peripheral vision. This area widens the further you get away from the truck and is larger on the right side.
- Directly in front of the truck or in front and to the right of the truck. Trucks have large hoods, which can obscure the driver’s view of what is near the front of the truck. While you can’t prevent a truck from tailgating you, you can ensure that you never cut off a truck or linger where you may not be seen.
Staying safe on the road should be a top priority for all drivers, but it only takes a single mistake to become involved in an accident. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident or a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Clearwater personal injury attorney Bryan Caulfield is prepared to help you with your claim today! Contact his office for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options and what your next steps should be.
Contact Bryan online, or by calling (727) 308-6060.