Driving can be dangerous in the best of conditions, but big rig trucks can heighten the danger for passenger vehicles who share the road. Tractor-trailer trucks are critical tools for shipping operations across the United States. However, such vehicles are large, heavy, and difficult to maneuver, making them particularly deadly in collisions with passenger vehicles.
Although accidents can happen at any time, you can take precautions to get to your destination safely. To protect yourself and your passengers, here are 4 things you should never do when driving near trucks.
Don’t Disregard the Truck’s Blind Spots
Truck drivers have limited sight lines due to the sheer size of their vehicle and trailer. While mirrors and proximity sensors in many modern trucks notify them when a vehicle is on either side, drivers must still contend with sizable blind spots.
A truck’s blind spots exist along either side of the vehicle toward the rear, similar to passenger vehicles. The difference is that a truck is much bigger and taller, making the blind spots correspondingly larger.
Avoid lingering in the blind spot of a truck when passing or driving in traffic. Rather, hang back behind the trailer until there is enough space to pass the entire truck safely and quickly. You should wait until all other vehicles have passed the truck before you attempt to pass and be aware of blind spots at all times.
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Don’t Pass a Truck on the Right
Truckers reasonably expect people to pass legally on the left side of the vehicle. If you pass on the right, especially if you are passing on a shoulder, the trucker may not see you. This places you at a much greater risk of a truck accident.
Instead of passing on the right, wait until traffic in the left lane allows you to merge, and then pass the truck on the left. If you are on a two-lane road, be sure to wait until a dotted yellow line indicates a safe passing zone. Use your turn signal when you pull out from behind the truck and when you pull back into the lane ahead of them so that the driver is always aware of your intentions.
Don’t Cut a Truck Off
When passing a truck, you may be tempted to cut directly in front of them when returning to the right lane. Remember that the truck is larger and much heavier than a standard passenger vehicle. If you cut a truck off, they could unintentionally rear-end your vehicle, especially if you slow down or stop quickly.
Trucks require a significant longer distance to stop than traditional passenger vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks can be 20 to 30 times the weight of a passenger vehicle and may require as much as two football fields of space to stop. To avoid an accident, be sure to leave extra room when you pull in front of a large truck.
Don’t Drive or Stop Too Close to a Truck
Finally, do not drive or stop too near the back end of a truck. A trailer’s length and height can prevent the driver from seeing what is directly behind them, even with mirrors and cameras. They may stop or change direction suddenly without realizing that there is someone directly behind them. If stopped on an incline, a heavy truck can even roll backward and crush your vehicle.
Straps, hooks, chains, doors, materials, and other items on the truck can come loose at high speeds. If you follow a truck too closely, flying objects can hit your car as they come loose. In addition, tires often blow out on long-haul trucks, and the tire debris can roll out from under the truck and hit your car before you have time to react.
Therefore, it is crucial to allow a safe distance between yourself and the truck ahead of you so you have time to react if something unexpected occurs.
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Truck Accidents Are Common
With the number of large trucks on every road, from highways to local thoroughfares, truck accidents are relatively common. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 100,000 injury accidents involving large trucks occur each year.
It’s also important to keep in mind that truck drivers work long hours. Federal regulations prohibit truckers from working past a certain period without rest according, to FMCSA. A violation of those rules can lead to accidents with catastrophic consequences.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, the truck accident lawyers at Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers can help you file a claim for compensation. Contact us today for a free legal consultation. One of our truck accident attorneys will review your claim and help you decide the best way to move forward with your case.