Many car drivers get frustrated when sharing the road with commercial trucks, as trucks move slowly and take longer to switch lanes. However, don’t let this impatience drive you into reckless habits. You need to take extra caution when commuting alongside trucks as truck accidents are often catastrophic, especially for the passengers in the smaller car. Explore the tips below to stay safe around road giants.
Stay Clear of Blind Spots
A blind spot is a zone of the roadway around the truck that the driver can’t see through the side or rear-view mirrors. Although trucks have more mirrors than smaller cars for enhanced visuals, they have more blind spots.
The area in front of a truck’s hood is one blind spot to avoid, as the long hood makes it difficult for a truck driver to spot you. The blind spots also extend 30 feet on the truck’s back, most of its right side, and the front half of its left side. Dim your car’s lights to a standard low-level setting as you drive behind a truck to avoid blinding the driver through the vehicle’s mirrors.
If you can’t see at least two of the truck’s mirrors, you are likely out of the driver’s visibility. Another tip is to check for your reflection in the mirror. If you find yourself in a blind spot, slow down or move ahead to let the driver see you in their mirrors.
When stuck behind a slow-moving truck, don’t just pass it at the first chance you get. Instead, take extra precautions to pass the vehicle carefully, as trucks cannot stop as quickly as your car can.
The most important tip is to avoid passing the truck on the right side because of the multiple blind spots. Truck drivers find it easier to spot overtaking vehicles if they pass on the left side. Also, don’t overtake trucks on downgrades, as they pick up speed.
Before overtaking the truck, ensure you see it in the mirror and indicate your intention with your turn signal. Accelerate when you move to the left lane to avoid lingering in the blind spot. The truck should be visible in your car’s rear-view mirror as you pull in front.
When a truck passes you, slow down, stay on the right, and give it adequate space to change lanes. If a speeding truck tries to pass you, let it — staying in front increases the likelihood of truck accidents.
Give Them Space
Commercial trucks have longer stopping distances than passenger vehicles. Being too close to these road giants when they turn, slow down, or speed up can result in accidents. Since truck drivers sit high, they see road hazards before any nearby motorist. If the driver brakes suddenly and you are too close, you might rear-end the truck and send your car under it.
Tailgating a truck is also unadvisable, as large debris on the truck’s path may damage your windshield. Keeping enough distance also gives you more time to respond to tire blow-outs. Tires on the road often cause unprepared drivers to swerve and hit other vehicles. Thus, don’t drive next to trucks and keep safe distances at all times.
Lookout for Wide Turns
Trucks make dramatic turns to avoid driving off the roadway. When drivers want to make a right turn, they typically swing left and extend to the left lane or oncoming lane.
Some drivers attempt to pass the trailer on the right side as a truck driver makes the turn. However, this maneuver is a recipe for disaster, as the driver cannot see you in the mirror. Don’t place your vehicle to the right of a transfer at a stop sign or red light if the truck in front of you indicates the intention to make a right turn.
Distractions like preparing a GPS, eating, and texting are dangerous when sharing the road with truck drivers. Typically, truck drivers communicate with lights, especially when merging. If you are distracted when the drivers make signals, you place yourself and your passengers in harm’s way.
If you must make a call, utilize a hands-free device so that you can react quickly if the truck slows down or changes lanes. Don’t drive fatigued or under the influence to ensure you stay focused amongst trucks.
The major role of seat belts is to keep you in the car during an accident. The CDC estimates that more than 3 of the 4 people ejected during fatal car accidents die from injuries. In addition to saving lives, seat belts reduce injury in truck accidents. So, you and your passengers should stay buckled up at all times.
Truck accidents are unpredictable, even if you follow the above rules. In case of a truck accident, you want reliable personal lawyers at your side to pursue the compensation you deserve. At Cantor Injury Law, we have secured damages for many truck accident victims, and we will do the same for you or a loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation.