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:
- Safe Passing
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.
- Give the Truck Space
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.
- Anticipate Wide Turns
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.
- Be Patient
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.