According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were approximately 333,000 trucking accidents in the United States in 2012. There were nearly 4,000 fatalities. The reality is that all drivers must share the roadways and people driving cars must travel alongside large and heavy vehicles like tractor-trailers and heavy trucks on a daily basis.
These larger vehicles are somewhat limited compared to smaller vehicles in their ability to stop or turn quickly. In addition, they have blind spots that prevent drivers from being able to see other vehicles on the roadway. Practicing some defensive driving techniques and safety tips around trucks can help keep you and others on the road safe.
Always Use Your Turn Signals
One of the more common driving mistakes is to forget to signal or signal at the last minute when turning or changing lanes on the freeway. As mentioned before, tractor-trailers need more time to be able to stop or make maneuvers.
The more weight it’s carrying and the faster it’s going, the more time it may need to stop. Give the driver plenty of notice regarding your actions by using your signals properly.
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Be Wary of the Truck’s Blind Spots
This is among the most important defensive driving techniques when around trucks. A truck has blind areas on the sides, rear, and front of the vehicle where the driver can’t see you. If you can’t see him or her, then he or she can’t see you.
Keep these blind spots in mind when changing lanes in front of or behind a truck, or when passing a truck. A good rule of thumb is to check to see if you can see the driver in his side mirror.
Pass Trucks with Care and Don’t Linger in Blind Spots
Do not linger on the side of the truck, as blind spots may prevent the driver from seeing you. Make sure you can see the truck’s entire front end before entering the lane in front of it. Cutting off a truck but pulling in front of it prematurely can cause an accident, as it takes longer for large vehicles to stop.
Merge Safely around Trucks (Don’t Cut Off a Truck!)
If you are entering a freeway or merging onto a road in front of a tractor trailer – or any other vehicle for that matter – make sure you leave plenty of space. If traffic if front of you slows after you pull out the truck may not have enough space to stop, and may run into the back of your vehicle. If necessary, allow a truck to pass you before merging into the lane.
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Avoid Squeeze Play with Trucks
Tractor-trailer drivers often need room to navigate a tight turn (especially a right turn). They may swing slightly left when making a right turn. Do not try to squeeze past a truck as it swings outward to make the right turn. This can result in your vehicle being ‘squeezed’ between the truck and a curb or wall. Allow time and space until the truck has successfully completed the turn. And if you’re approaching from the left lane, beware that the truck may swing out to make the turn.
Stay alert whenever you’re in the vicinity of a large truck. Defensive driving techniques may help decrease the likelihood that you will be involved in a truck accident.
Call David Bressman if You Are in a Truck Accident
Even the most defensive and cautious drivers are involved in accidents sometimes. If you are injured as the result of a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Bressman Law can help you with your claim to pursue a fair settlement. Call us at (614) 538-1116 today.