If you have been driving for any length of time, whether it’s road tripping to see America’s beauty or driving the daily commute, you know that sharing the road with large commercial vehicles is not uncommon. Unfortunately, traveling around a semi-truck presents a set of challenges that are vastly different from sharing the road with other vehicles. With the combination of the size of the truck itself and its freight, semis can weigh around 18,000 pounds on average. This makes focusing on how you interact with these vehicles critical. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, nearly 4,000 people die from accidents involving large trucks each year.
One of the principle dangers in driving around trucks is navigating their blind spots. Semi-trucks have large blind spots, or zones in which they are unable to see other vehicles. The zones represent profound danger for motorists because if a truck driver can’t see you, he doesn’t know to look out for you. You’re not likely to win in a collision with an 18,000-pound vehicle. Below are tips for avoiding blind spots and safely driving around large commercial vehicles.
- Keep truck mirrors in plain sight: When encountering a truck, make sure that you can see the mirrors and, even more so, see the face of the truck driver. If you can’t see either, it’s likely that the truck driver can’t see you. If they decide to switch lanes they may not be aware that you are in their path.
- Avoid blind spots altogether, especially on the right side: The best way to avoid blind spots is to know where they are. A semi’s blind spots are directly in front and in back of the truck, on the truck’s left side near the door and the entire length of the truck’s right side. The truck’s right side is particularly perilous because the truck’s length and the driver’s position in the truck makes it difficult to spot items on that side. If you are on the right side of the truck, it’s best to give the trucker 2-3 lane’s distance to ensure that they can see you.
- Stay a safe distance behind the truck: It’s important to maintain a distance of 20 to 25 car lengths behind a truck. The size of a semi-truck makes it impossible to see around it. If the truck slows down, swerves to avoid debris or stops suddenly, it will be difficult to avoid an accident.
- When passing a large truck, do it fast: You’re going to have to pass a large truck at some point. When this happens, it’s important to do it as quickly as possible. When you move into the next lane, you are placing your vehicle in the truck’s blind spot. To be safe, move beyond the truck quickly or get over as far you possible can when passing.
- Blow your horn: At times, a truck may enter your lane before you have a chance to move beyond it. If this happens, honk your horn quickly and forcibly. This may be the only way that a truck driver knows that they are entering the path of a car.
If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, you are likely going through a difficult time. Let the trucking accident lawyers at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. help you put the pieces back together. Contact us today at 844-511-4800.