In a collision between an 18-wheeler and the average passenger vehicle, the smaller vehicle is going to lose. That is why all drivers should be extra cautious when driving near big rigs. Consumer Reports researched this issue with the help of a 28-year trucking veteran and came up with some useful tips to help the average driver stay out of trouble when in the presence of large trucks.
We’ll get into the specifics in a second, but the main takeaway from the veteran trucker is this: all of us should remember that we need to share the road. That means paying attention, avoiding distractions like cell phones and eating, and being more aware of our surroundings, particularly when big trucks are around. If passenger car drivers raise their attentiveness just a little bit, serious truck accidents can be reduced.
Now, let’s go through some of the safety tips experts recommend.
Don’t Linger in the Blind Spot
18-wheelers have a blind spot behind the driver’s left shoulder. When you’re passing a truck, try to complete the maneuver quickly (but safely) so you don’t stay in the blind spot too long. Camping out next to a truck is not a good idea.
Speaking of passing, always pass trucks on their left side. Why? Because the passenger’s side is the truck driver’s biggest blind spot – it can extend the full length of the trailer. Awareness is key to avoiding accidents, but even the most aware truck driver can’t account for a car that he can’t see.
Get Out in Front
As you’re completing that pass, don’t pull back in front of the truck until you can clearly see the truck’s headlights and bumper in your rearview mirror. That should put you at least 20 feet in front of the truck. Keeping distance between you and the truck is important because a loaded semi needs around 40 percent more stopping distance than a regular car.
Tailgating Is a Bad Idea
Big trucks need extra space to maneuver and brake. If you are behind a semi/tractor trailer, leave at least 30 feet of cushion between you and the truck. This can not only help reduce the likelihood of you rear-ending the truck, but it also helps lessen the chances that your car gets struck by debris falling from the truck or getting kicked up by its tires.
Give a Wide Berth on City Streets
As a semi turns, the driver’s blind spot grows. Right turns are especially tricky for truck drivers, so if you see that right turn signal flashing, your best bet is to slow down and give the truck the space to turn. Whatever you do, don’t try to pass a semi in the middle of a turn.
Were You Hurt in a Tractor Trailer Crash? Our Texas Lawyers Can Help.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a truck wreck in Texas, contact Ted B. Lyon & Associates today. We’ll work to get you the compensation you deserve.