There are a lot of tractor-trailers and semi-trucks out on the road. Whenever you get behind the wheel, you are likely to be sharing the road with one or more of these vehicles or at least see one off in the distance.
You have to be cautious when you are sharing the road with these vehicles to avoid a potentially fatal accident. There are many defensive driving tips you should use around these vehicles to stay safe and help lower your risk of a crash.
Avoid or Be Careful in Blind Spots
Large commercial vehicles have large blind spots. Commercial truck drivers may not be able to see other drivers who are:
- Within 20 feet in front of the truck
- In the left lane immediately next to the truck near the front of the trailer
- Within 30 feet behind the truck
- In one of the two lanes to the right of the truck near the front of the trailer
Avoid driving in these locations if possible. If you must be in a blind spot, try to get out as soon as possible. A good rule to keep in mind is that if you cannot see the driver’s face in the side-view mirror, the driver cannot see you, which increases the risk of an accident.
Commercial trucks weigh several tons, so that means that it takes longer for them to come to a complete stop. A fully-loaded truck may take up to 400 feet to come to a complete stop, compared to a passenger vehicle that is traveling at 65 mph and takes just 240 feet to stop.
This increases the likelihood that a commercial truck may have to brake suddenly to avoid hitting other cars. You do not want to be right behind a truck when the driver slams on the brakes. You might not have enough time to stop before hitting the back of the truck. The rear could be higher than the hood of your car, increasing the risk of your car sliding under the trailer, putting you at risk for serious or fatal injury.
If you are passing a large vehicle like a truck, be sure that you do not cut in front of it too closely. The driver has trouble seeing cars that are too close to the front. You could be at greater risk of getting rear-ended by the truck.
If you are stopped behind a large truck, avoid getting too close. The truck can drift back slightly when it starts to move. It is common for large trucks to roll back slightly after the driver takes his or her foot off the brake.
Be Careful When Large Trucks Turn Right
Big trucks require much more space to turn right. For this reason, they must often turn right from the center lane and move into two lanes to complete the turn. Additionally, truck drivers may initially swing wide to the left when making this maneuver, so drivers in lanes immediately adjacent to the truck must be on constant alert.
Pay attention to the driver’s turn signals so that you will know if a truck near you is planning to turn right. If you see the signal, pull back so that you are not in the space between the truck driver and the curb.
Watch for Runaway Trucks
Commercial trucks are prone to mechanical failures. They can overheat, brakes can fail, or tires can blow out. Commercial trucks that lose use of their brakes can travel very fast, especially if they are traveling downhill.
If you notice a runaway truck behind you, try to maneuver out of its way as quickly as possible. You may be able to get to the right and the side of the road. However, if the truck is already in the right lane, try to move over to the left.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer Right Away
Sometimes, no matter how defensively you drive, you may still wind up in an accident because of the careless actions of a truck driver. If you were injured in a truck accident, the experienced Windsor truck accident lawyers from Greg Monforton & Partners can help.
We can investigate the cause of your accident and determine which parties may be liable for your injuries. We will request information about the actions of the truck driver immediately before the accident, records of where the truck driver had delivered loads and other information regarding the trucking company’s procedures.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim. Although you are under no obligation, if you decide to retain our services, we will get to work immediately on your claim and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.