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Truck Accidents / 3.25.2024

Sharing the Road Safely: Tips for Drivers Around Large Trucks

Large trucks are a vital part of our economy, transporting goods across vast distances. However, sharing the road with these massive vehicles can be intimidating for car drivers. Their size, weight, and blind spots create unique challenges.  

Truck.Law is dedicated to safety on the roads, and this blog aims to empower car drivers with knowledge and essential tips for safe driving practices when encountering large trucks.

Understanding Large Trucks and Their Limitations

To properly share the road with semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles, it is important to understand the many ways that large trucks are different from regular cars and trucks and the ways that they are more limited than you. 

Size and Blind Spots

Eighteen-wheelers and other large trucks dwarf passenger vehicles. Their sheer size creates significant blind spots around the front, sides, and back of the trailer. A car can disappear entirely within these blind spots, posing a serious danger.

Stopping Distance

Due to their weight, large trucks require a much greater distance to stop compared to cars. Be mindful of this when approaching intersections or changing lanes.

Turning Radius

Trucks have a wider turning radius than cars and many accidents have happened due to cars failing to factor for that larger turn radius. Anticipate wider turns and avoid getting caught on the inside lane when a truck is turning.

Essential Tips for Safe Driving Around Trucks

To be a courteous driver and share the road in an intentional way, there are some practices you can follow to be more accommodating to big trucks. By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents while sharing the road with large trucks:

Avoid Blind Spots

Stay out of a truck's blind spots, particularly the large zones on the sides and back of the trailer.  If you can't see the truck driver in their mirror, they can't see you.

Know the "No Zones" Around a Truck

The "No Zones" are the areas around a truck where the driver cannot see. A diagram illustrating these zones is typically located on the back of the trailer.

Never Cut Off a Truck

Abrupt lane changes in front of a truck can cause them to brake suddenly or swerve, leading to accidents.

Pass Safely When Necessary

Only pass a truck when it's safe and legal to do so.  Use your turn signal well in advance, accelerate smoothly to complete the pass quickly, and ensure you have a clear view ahead before returning to your lane.

Maintain a Safe Speed Differential When Passing

Don't linger next to a truck while passing. Increase your speed enough to pass decisively and return to your lane promptly.

Be Wary of Truck Maneuvers

Pay close attention to a truck's turn signals and brake lights. These are their only ways of giving you a heads up to what they are about to do. Give them ample space when they are turning or merging lanes.

Don't Tailgate 

Tailgating a truck significantly reduces your reaction time in case of a sudden stop. Cases of underriding accidents are nearly always caused by cars following too closely, and the injuries sustained in those types of accidents can be deadly. Make sure to maintain a safe following distance, at least four seconds behind the truck.

Be Aware of Road Conditions

Like most other drivers, truck drivers are not immune to the negative effects of the weather. Weather conditions like rain, fog, or snow can further increase stopping distances and blind spots for trucks. Adjust your speed accordingly.

Stay Alert and Avoid Distracted Driving

Distractions like texting or eating take your focus away from the road and can be catastrophic when sharing the road with large vehicles.

Sharing the Road with Courtesy and Respect

Remember, there's a person behind the wheel of every truck, just like you. You should always treat truck drivers with courtesy and respect just like you would like them to do for you. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors like honking or flashing your lights. After all, they are bigger than you…

What to Do If Involved in an Accident with a Truck

If you are unfortunately involved in an accident with a large truck, here are some crucial steps to take:

  • Stay Calm and Call 911: Ensure the safety of yourself and others involved. Call 911 to report the accident and request medical attention if necessary.
  • Do Not Move Your Vehicle: Unless your vehicle is in a dangerous position, leave it where it is to avoid further accidents or obstructing traffic.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel okay initially,  get checked out by a medical professional for potential injuries.
  • Contact an Attorney: Accidents involving large trucks can be complex. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process.

Truck.Law has a proven track record of success in representing victims of truck accidents.  Contact us today for a free consultation at 904-323-4466.

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Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers

At Truck.Law™, we are dedicated to helping victims of trucking negligence and their attorneys obtain the full compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us fight for your rights on the road. We also welcome other attorneys to get in touch with us to learn how we can help resource you in your truck accident cases. We take cases nationwide.

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