Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Feb 20, 2018 in Truck Accidents
Due to their significant size and power, commercial trucks can be particularly dangerous on the roadways. If a vehicle of this massive size collides with a smaller vehicle, the results are often devastating.
For this reason, it is important for motorists in smaller vehicles to know how to safely drive around trucks in order to help prevent accidents.
The qualified truck accident attorneys at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings are familiar with the disastrous effects that truck accidents can have. We have represented many clients who suffered life-altering injuries like paralysis, amputations and spinal cord injuries from these accidents; we have also represented the surviving family members who lost a loved one in a truck accident.
To help prevent truck accidents, follow these seven tips:
1. Avoid Blind Spots
Commercial trucks have many more blind spots than other motorists. If possible, stay out of the following areas, because they may be difficult for commercial truck drivers to see:
- The lane on the driver’s side going back to about half of the trailer’s length
- 20 feet in front of the truck
- 30 feet behind the truck
- Two lanes wide on the right side of the truck
If you cannot see the driver in the truck’s side mirrors, he or she may not be able to see you. Avoid these blind spots by allowing plenty of space between you and the truck.
2. Use Caution When Passing
Always be careful when passing a commercial truck. Large trucks cannot stop as quickly or maneuver as easily as other vehicles, so truck drivers need additional time to react and adjust their speed. Some important points to remember are the following:
- Do not pass a truck while going uphill or downhill, since the truck may naturally increase or decrease its speed.
- Approach a commercial truck you plan to pass along the left side, where it is easier for the driver to see you. Maintain your speed while passing and use proper signals as you pass.
- Do not merge back into the lane in front of the truck until you can see the driver clearly in your rearview mirror.
- If a truck passes you, stay on the right and slow down to give the driver more space to safely pass you and to minimize the amount of time that you are in a blind spot.
3. Give Clear Signals
Before you pass, change lanes or turn when nearby a commercial truck, it is important to provide clear signals so the truck driver can anticipate your actions. Use your signal sooner than you normally would for other motorists so that the truck driver has adequate time to adjust his or her own driving. A sudden lane change may not provide the truck driver with enough time to avoid a collision.
4. Give the Truck Plenty of Space
Avoid being near a truck for too long. Driving close to a truck puts you at an increased risk of an accident caused by factors such as:
- Tire blowouts – Tire remnants can tear off of a truck’s tire and hit your windshield.
- Sudden braking – If a commercial truck has to suddenly brake, your car may slide under the truck, or the truck may tip over.
- High winds – Strong winds can cause truck rollovers.
Some other important ways to give a truck more space include:
- Maintain a following distance behind a commercial truck of at least four seconds.
- Give the commercial truck plenty of space while turning. Truck drivers may take up to two lanes when making wide turns.
- Do not pass a right-turning truck on the right. While there may be a gap between the rear and front wheels of the truck, you could be hit or trapped in the limited space between the truck and the curb.
5. Lower Your Brights
Bright headlights may reflect off of the trucker’s large side mirrors and blind them, so always lower your high beams while near a truck or any other vehicle. While being blinded may irritate other drivers, for a commercial truck driver, this may lead to catastrophic consequences.
6. Merge Carefully
Avoid merging in front of a commercial truck if traffic is slowing to a stop. It is more difficult for a truck to slow down quickly, and you do not want to be in its way as the truck driver is braking. If a truck is passing you, decelerate to decrease the truck's passing time.
7. Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving places you at an increased risk of harm. Avoid activities that take your mind, hands or eyes off the road, including cellphones, food, drink or noisy passengers. Always read and respond to text messages after you have reached your destination, as texting causes thousands of car and truck accidents nationwide every year.
Contact a Licensed Lawyer for Help with Your Claim
Despite taking the precautions described above, a careless truck driver may still cause a serious accident. If you were injured in a truck accident, it is important that you contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to help ensure that your legal rights are protected.
We offer a free, no obligation consultation in which you can learn about your legal options and decide how you want to handle your claim. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs. You pay us only if we are able to help you obtain compensation.