Despite the transportation trends of the past few years, trucks remain responsible for the transportation of nearly 70 percent of goods in the USA. Thus, the number of trucks on American roads is quite high, and so is the percentage of crashes involving them.
As you may already know, accidents involving large vehicles are also severe as the vehicle and cargo weight make it harder for the driver to execute instant decisions successfully. Of course, this comes with a higher cost of auto insurance and better settlement offers in case of an accident, but it is always better to protect yourself from truck accidents while using the road. Here are tips to show you how:
A loaded truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This means bringing them to a stop during an emergency is difficult, regardless of the driver’s reflexes. Leaving significant space between you and the truck gives both you and the truck driver enough time to react during an emergency.
When you need to pull off, it is wise to get the whole body of the vehicle out of the highway. Trucks are wider than ordinary cars, and drivers tend to squeeze to the edge of the road to minimize the risk of head-on collisions.
Many people who report being injured in a truck accident are victims of poor parking. Ensure that every time you pull off the highway, the entire car is out of the road because if a truck driver had to choose between hitting your stopped car and colliding with an oncoming vehicle, they would most likely go with the first option.
As stated above, trucks take longer to stop due to their weight. Abruptly braking in front of a truck denies the driver ample time to stop and may force them to swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road. So, besides keeping a safe distance, ensure you don’t slam your brakes abruptly when driving in front of a truck.
Truck drivers deal with larger blind spots than regular drivers. When driving behind or beside a truck, the general rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the truck driver in your rearview mirror, they most probably aren’t seeing you either. They may thus make hazardous turns or switch lanes because they are oblivious to your presence. Always ensure you don’t spend too much time in a truck’s blind spot.
Be more careful when approaching intersections, especially when you are driving behind a truck. It is extremely difficult to judge the speed and space a truck will need to make a turn. 18-wheelers usually swing wide when turning and may not be able to share the intersection space with other vehicles. This can be hazardous to other drivers, especially those in the truck’s blind spot at the time of the turn.
Unlike other vehicles, large trucks can’t stop quickly or maneuver easily. Truck drivers require more time to react and adjust to a situation on the road. Thus, you should be careful when passing a commercial truck. Some crucial points to keep in mind include:
- Never overtake a truck when going downhill or uphill.
- If you want to overtake a commercial truck, approach it on the left where the truck driver can easily see you. You should also maintain your speed when overtaking and use the correct signals.
- When a large truck is overtaking you, slow down to allow it to pass you safely.
Distractions are a major cause of road accidents in the United States. Don’t involve yourself in activities that will occupy your hands, mind, or keep your eyes off the road. This includes noisy passengers, food and mobile phone.
Always lower your brights when driving close to a commercial truck at night. Bright lights can reflect off the side mirrors of a truck, blinding the truck driver. Being blinded is annoying, isn’t it? But for truck drivers, it is not just annoying — inadvertently blinding a truck driver can result in a catastrophic accident.
Avoiding truck accidents is partly your responsibility and partly the truck driver’s responsibility. Play your part by adhering to the above tips and being an overall watchful driver on the road.