Driving near a large truck can be intimidating. They are large, occupy
the majority of their lane, and have several major operational limitations
including large blind spots, long stopping distances and challenging maneuverability.
It is estimated that approximately 250,000 accidents between passenger
cars and 18-wheeler trucks happen each year. Of these accidents, more
than 70% were determined to be the fault of the driver operating the passenger
vehicle. Because of their size and power, accidents involving large trucks
are more likely to cause injuries and fatalities. Large trucks should
not be treated as if they are a regular passenger vehicle, and drivers
should take special precautions when sharing the road with them. Follow
these tips to keep yourself and others safe when sharing the road with them:
It takes significantly more time to pass an 18-wheeler than a passenger
car. Make sure that the driver can see you before passing. The rule of
thumb is that if you can see the driver’s mirrors, they should be
able to see you. Whenever possible, pass the truck on the left side. Do
not linger in the truck’s blind spots. Get past the truck quickly,
and do not pull back in front of the truck until it is visible in your
rearview mirror. If a large truck is trying to pass you, reduce your speed
slightly to make it easier for them to get by you.
Don’t cut it close when driving by or passing a truck. If you move
near a truck too quickly, you will likely enter one of their blind spots
and they may not see you in time. It takes large trucks about 40% longer
to stop, which makes a huge difference when they try to slam on the brakes
to avoid hitting a passenger vehicle who has cut them off.
Large trucks require extra turning room. They may even need to make their
turn from the middle lane instead of the left turning lane. Anticipate
that they may enter into your lane when making a turn, and do not try
to speed up to pass them. Do not stop past the line at intersections as
trucks need that space to turn safely.
Truck drivers have a tough job and are operating a vehicle that is more
complicated, and more restrictive than your passenger vehicle. You may
be annoyed that a truck is taking up too much room when making a turn,
or that they are taking too long to pass another truck on the highway.
The size of the trucks as well as operating restrictions such as speed
limiters can limit the capabilities of truck drivers. Getting mad or driving
aggressively won’t enable a driver to speed up or get out of your
way, but it will create a dangerous driving situation for both of you.
If you’ve been injured due to an accident with a large truck, the
Long Island Personal Injury Attorneys at The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. can help.