When it comes to Driver's Education, one essential aspect of driving is how to safely share the road with larger vehicles like commercial trucks. Thanks to the size and weight of eighteen-wheelers, they need to be treated differently from other vehicles. Failure to do so could result in an accident and leave you searching for an accident lawyer to assist with your case. Truck drivers are held to a much higher standard in road safety, but you may be surprised to know that car drivers are responsible for a larger percentage of truck accidents.
Let's consider why sharing the road with trucks can be more dangerous and how you can make it safer.
The Dangers of Trucks on the Road
In 2021, there were 5601 fatalities in accidents involving one or more semi-trucks. That's an increase of more than 11% from the previous year. It's no wonder accident lawyers can be in high demand! You may wonder, if truck drivers receive special training and have to hold themselves to specific safety standards, why are there so many accidents? Several factors contribute to making these vehicles more dangerous.
- Large Blind Spots - One of the critical differences between trucks and other vehicles is the multiple blind spots. These spots are present at the vehicle's front, sides, and back, making it impossible to see vehicles in these spots.
- Longer Stopping Distances - A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh over 80,000 lbs. As you might imagine, this size of vehicle will take much longer to come to a stop than the average car.
- Wide Turning Arc - Again, considering the size of a truck, it needs to take a wider approach to turns, especially right-hand turns which can put them partially into another lane while turning.
- Highly Impacted By Wind - It's not just the extra weight that causes problems, but the height of the vehicles too. When the wind is powerful, it can buffer the high sides of the vehicle resulting in unexpected swerving or even tipping.
Tips to Help Make Sharing the Road Safer
Truck accidents will never be 100% preventable. Any accident lawyer can tell you many variables can trigger an accident, including driver error from either side, inclement weather conditions, mechanical failure, and more. However, there are steps that you can take as a defensive driver to help truck drivers with keeping themselves and others safe and minimize the risk of a truck accident.
1 - Stay Out of The Blind spots
As previously mentioned, commercial trucks can have multiple blind spots, which are often more significant than the blind spots in smaller vehicles. By avoiding these blind spots, you make it easier for truck drivers to see you. If you need to pass a semi-truck, do so on the left side if you can, as this has the smallest blind spot. The most common blind spots for commercial trucks include the following:
- The first 20 feet in front of the vehicle
- At least 30 feet behind the trailer
- On the left side from the cab to around the middle of the trailer
- On the right side from the cab to the back of the trailer
2 - Allow Trucks Plenty of Room to Stop & Turn
Stopping quickly is more or less impossible for a vehicle the size of an eighteen-wheeler, due to the weight. It is going to take a truck twice the stopping distance a car needs, maybe, even more, depending on the road conditions and other factors, at 65 miles per hour which is around 400 feet for a fully loaded truck. For everyone's safety, leave more space when driving behind a truck than you would any other vehicle. Often trucks will need to move into the adjacent lane when making a turn, especially right-hand turns. Back off a little and allow them the extra room on the road. This can you needing an accident lawyer.
3 - Keep Your Speed Consistent
Circling back to trucks not being able to stop quickly in the event of an emergency, you can also help truckers by driving at a consistent speed as much as possible. This allows truck drivers to track where the vehicles around them are positioned while scanning the road for potential hazards. Knowing where your car is, even in a blind spot, can help the truck driver make safer decisions when turning or changing lanes.
These are just a few things you can do to help make sharing the road with larger vehicles a little bit safer. You may still find yourself in a truck accident despite your best efforts, and if you do, it will be important to reach out to an accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss compensation.
Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice Law, Birth Injury Law, Trucking Accident Law, Personal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at www.bvblaw.com or call 865-637-3531.
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