One thing that's never taught through driver education, although it should be, is how to share the road with large trucks properly. Trucking accidents accounted for over 4,000 deaths in 2017, and this number is expected to continue to rise. By learning how to properly share the road with these large vehicles, you may help prevent an accident.
The Dangers of Trucks on the Road
Semi-trucks operate much differently than traditional vehicles on the road. They have additional things to worry about which create hazards on the road, such as:
- Monstrous blind spots. Unlike regular vehicles, semi-trucks often have multiple blind spots. These blind spots may occur in the front, side, and back of the semi-truck. This makes it impossible for the driver to see vehicles in these blind spots.
- Extended stop times. Due to the sheer volume of semi-trucks, they take much longer to come to a halt. It’s important to remember that these vehicles will not be able to stop quickly in the event of a hazard arising.
- Wide turns. As expected with vehicles this size, semi-trucks have to take a much wider approach to turns (especially right turns). Having to take larger turns can put the safety of other cars on the road in danger.
- Highly impacted by the wind. Unlike smaller sedans, semi-trucks are highly impacted by the wind. The trailers being towed by these trucks act similar to sails when the wind is blowing strongly. The wind may cause these vehicles to swerve with nothing the driver can do to stop it, which can lead to accidents.
How You Can Drive More Safely Around Trucks
While there may not be anything that can be done to prevent an accident completely, there are defensive driving tips that can help keep you safer on the road:
Stay Clear of the Semi-Truck’s Blindspots
As mentioned earlier, semi-trucks have much larger spots than a traditional vehicle. By staying clear of their blind spots, you ensure that you are seen, which increases safety. The most common blind spots on semi-trucks are:
- 20 feet in front of the vehicle
- 30 feet behind the trailer
- On the truck’s left, starting at the cab trailing back to the middle of the trailer
- On the truck’s right, starting with the cab trailing back behind the end of the trailer
If you are going to pass a semi, be sure to do so on the left side, as this is the area with the smallest blind spot.
Allow for Additional Stopping Room
With the weight and size behind semi-trucks, stopping quickly is impossible. Next time you’re behind a semi-truck, be sure to leave much more space than you would for a standard vehicle.
You also want to be sure never to make turns on the inside of a semi-truck (especially right turns). Unlike standard vehicles, semi-trucks often make their way into other lanes while turning. If you find yourself caught on the inside at this time, you may be involved in an accident.
Keep a Consistent Speed
Driving at a consistent speed will help truckers around you keep tabs on the flow of traffic. They cannot stop quickly in the event of an emergency, so they rely on scanning the road to ensure there are no immediate hazards. Maintaining a consistent speed will ensure the trucker knows your position, which may prevent an accident from happening.
SJ Injury Attorneys Can Help
No matter how cautiously you drive, accidents are still bound to happen. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a negligent truck driver, our team at SJ Injury Attorneys would love the chance to explain how we can help you recover what was lost.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.