Trucking Accidents – Tips for Sharing the Road with Semi-Trucks
Semi-trucks are a blessing to all of us, businesses, and residents. These trucks carry tons of products to go to our local stores. And while it’s great that truck drivers work hard to meet deliveries, it is also very risky to share the road with these trucks. In fact, it can be downright dangerous, even to the point of fatalities. Having said this, the following includes tips for sharing the road with semi-trucks:
1. Pay careful attention to semi trucks on the road.
Semi trucks take up a lot of space. You should always look for them and pay close attention to the actions they take—but many drivers overlook semi trucks until it’s too late.
When you share the road with a semi truck, take note of:
- The truck’s cargo. Pay attention to the type of cargo the truck may contain. Flatbed trucks, for example, may carry heavy, oversized cargo. If the driver or loader does not secure that cargo properly, it can cause a falling load accident, which may cause severe injuries to those in other vehicles. On a traditional 18 wheeler with a closed trailer, make note of the trailer’s doors. If you notice them opening or moving oddly, which could suggest that the loaders did not secure them properly, you may want to signal the driver or get out of the way.
- The driver’s behavior. Does the truck seem to drift from one side to the other? Is the driver behaving erratically in any way? If you spot the signs of distracted or inebriated driving in a truck driver, you may want to maneuver away from that driver as soon as possible to help reduce the risk of an accident.
- The truck’s position and signals. Always pay careful attention to a truck driver’s intended pathway. Many accidents, for example, occur as the truck driver attempts to turn the vehicle. Truck drivers may need to make wide turns, especially right turns. A vehicle that creeps into the space the truck driver needs to occupy during that turn may end up in an accident. If you notice a truck driver signaling his intent to get into your lane, you may need to signal him regarding your presence or, if possible, get out of the way quickly.
2. Give semi trucks plenty of room to maneuver safely.
Because of their larger size and weight, semi trucks need more room to maneuver safely on the road. Truck drivers need more space to stop or turn. As the driver of a smaller passenger vehicle, you can take some of the pressure off the truck driver and reduce the risk of accidents by offering plenty of room for the truck driver to maneuver.
- Not pulling over in front of big trucks. Make sure you leave adequate room behind you before pulling over in front of a big truck, especially at a traffic light or stop sign. Truck drivers cannot stop their vehicles quickly, especially when pulling a heavy weight.
- Leaving room for truck drivers to change lanes when needed. If a truck driver signals that he needs to change lanes, do not try to run up further into the lane to prevent him from coming over. Instead, drop back in traffic and flash your lights to let the driver know when he has adequate room.
- Allowing the truck plenty of room to make turns. If you see a big truck signaling the driver’s intent to turn right, for example, make sure you do not pull up directly on the right side of the truck. Many truck drivers need to make wide right turns, and if you pull up alongside a truck, it can make it more difficult for the driver to turn safely.
- Giving the truck driver time and space to maneuver if he gets stuck. On tight city streets, in particular, truckers have little margin for error, and accidents can occur quickly. If you notice that a truck driver has maneuvered into a dangerous position or gotten stuck due to traffic, try to get your vehicle out of the way and leave room for him to maneuver.
3. Know common truck blind spots.
Modern technology has undergone substantial advances, making it easier than ever for truck drivers to see the road around them, but those advances haven’t eliminated the hazard of trucking blind spots. Even trucks with cameras and collision warning may not give the trucker a complete view of the road around them.
If you cannot see the truck driver’s mirrors clearly, he likely cannot see you.
4. Follow all the rules of the road.
At high rates of speed, your risk of involvement in an accident increases substantially. The faster you drive, the harder it becomes to avoid common hazards on the road. You may also increase your risk of an accident if you attempt to rush through a red light or stop sign rather than waiting for your turn.
5. Dim your Brights.
On dark nights, you may turn on your brights to increase your ability to see the road or to make your vehicle more visible to others around you.
6. Pass trucks quickly, if you need to pass.
Don’t assume that the driver of a truck you’re passing knows you’re there. Because of blind spots, the truck driver may not always know that you moved—or even have seen your vehicle in the first place.
7. Use your turn signals.
If you need to slow down, change lanes, or turn, always use your signals to indicate your intent to other drivers. Truck drivers rely on your signals to determine their next moves. Tapping your brakes and putting on your turn signal lets a truck driver behind you know that you plan to turn soon and that the truck needs to slow down, giving you more room.
8. Slow down in bad weather.
Bad weather can prevent you from safely maneuvering your vehicle. Semi trucks have limited move-ability and sudden change reactions can cause a chain reaction.