How to Drive Safely Around Large Trucks
With e-commerce on the rise, more big rigs than ever are on the road today. In 2022, trucks transported 11.46 billion tons of freight, as reported by the American Trucking Association (ATA). The challenges of sharing the road with large commercial trucks are a concern for many motorists. Everyone on the roadway must use safe driving practices.
Understanding Large Trucks
In a recent year, almost 5,800 people were killed in crashes involving large commercial trucks, as reported by the National Safety Council (NSC). A total of 117,300 large trucks were involved in crashes that caused injury.
Semi tractor-trailers are much larger and heavier than cars and pickup trucks. While the average weight of a passenger vehicle is 4,000 pounds, a fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more. Big rigs have large blind spots and require more stopping time and distance than smaller vehicles. Loaded with heavy cargo, they are difficult to maneuver and prone to rollovers or a jackknife.
Safe Driving Tips When Sharing the Road
These safe driving tips can help you avoid a crash while sharing the road with large commercial trucks:
- Maintain a safe following distance: Tailgating puts you in a trucker’s rear blind spot. If the truck stops suddenly or you are rear-ended by another vehicle, you could slide under the truck in a deadly underride accident.
- Avoid sudden lane changes: Trucks take longer to slow down than other vehicles. If you cut it too close, merging in front of a truck, the driver may not have enough time to avoid a crash. Use turn signals early and clearly before switching lanes.
- Pass safely and efficiently: When passing a truck, maintain a safe speed, use your signals, and make sure the cab is visible in your rear-view mirror before you pass. Accelerate after passing to get out of the truck’s front blind spot. Avoid passing on the right side, where the largest blind spot is located.
- Be cautious during turns: Trucks need extra turning room and tend to swing wide. Truckers sometimes begin a turn from the middle rather than the far-right lane. Never try to squeeze by or get between a turning truck and the curb.
Managing Blind Spots
All enclosed vehicles have blind spots, but these “no zones” are particularly large on commercial trucks. A truck’s blind spots are located in the front, the rear, and on both sides of the tractor. A smaller vehicle can virtually disappear from the driver’s view in a no zone. So, how can you tell if you are in a truck’s blind spot? A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the driver’s face in the side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
Anticipating Truck Movements
To stay safe sharing the road with large trucks, try to anticipate their movements. This includes understanding wide turns and being alert to lane drift. Big rigs need more room to turn than other vehicles. They may swing wide while making right turns, which can give the appearance of extra space on the right. A driver attempting to pass can be trapped or crushed by the turning truck.
Lane drift occurs when a trucker drifts into another lane. This can happen when the driver is fatigued, texting, or distracted. Truck lane departure crashes can have deadly consequences. Remain alert, pass safely, and stay out of the truck’s blind spots.
Have You Sustained Injuries in a Truck Accident?
If you have been injured through trucker or trucking company negligence, it’s important to seek the legal counsel of an experienced San Diego truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may have a claim for compensation for your injuries.
At Eugene Bruno & Associates, we never shy away from challenging, complex cases and have experience battling powerful corporations and interests. Our seasoned San Diego personal injury attorneys have recovered tens of millions for our clients.
Call us at 1-888-BRUNO-88 (1-888-278-6688) to arrange your free case review today.
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