While many truck accidents happen as a result of the truck driver’s fatigue, or a failure of a system in their vehicle, or bad weather conditions, there are still plenty of accidents caused by car drivers. When driving on the road with large trucks, it’s just as much your responsibility as theirs to avoid an accident at all costs.
This is in your best interest, too. Commercial trucks are bigger and more powerful than other vehicles, making them more dangerous in a collision. The results can be devastating, and unfortunately, many of them result in life-changing injuries or even death.
While nobody can control all the factors that contribute to truck accidents, there are steps you can take to lower your risk of being in a collision. Follow these guidelines when driving to avoid making a mistake that could cost you your life.
Avoid the Truck’s Blind Spots
We’ve all had that experience of trying to merge into a lane and finding that a car has been in your blind spot for who-knows-how-long. It’s surprising at best and can be scary and dangerous at worst. Commercial trucks have more blind spots than cars, making it more likely that the driver won’t be able to see you.
How to Know if You’re in a Truck’s Blind Spot
If you cannot see the driver reflected in the side mirrors, they may not be able to see you. This is the first indication. When on the driver’s side of the truck, the blind spot is between the truck cabin and about half of the trailer’s length.
On the passenger’s side of the truck, the blind spot extends to two lanes for practically the full length of the trailer. The driver also won’t be able to see you driving within 30 feet behind the truck or 20 feet in front of the truck.
Always use your turn signal before passing, changing lanes, or turning. Be sure to give plenty of notice with your turn signals so other drivers, especially truck drivers, can anticipate what you are about to do and adjust their speed accordingly.
When driving near a commercial truck, put your signal on earlier than you would otherwise, since trucks take longer to slow down. Cutting off a truck without warning is a good way to get rear-ended.
Pass Trucks Safely
So many drivers are reckless when passing commercial trucks, forgetting that large vehicles are not as easy to manoeuvre and take longer to stop, even if the driver slams the brake if another driver cuts them off. Drivers need more room and time to decide when to merge or slow down for another driver.
With that in mind, be sure not to pass a truck going uphill or downhill, as the truck’s speed will likely change. Pass on the left side, where the blind spot is smaller and you are more likely to be seen by the driver.
Do not merge in front of a commercial truck before you can see its reflection in your rearview mirror, as this signals you are far enough ahead for the driver to see you. And if a truck is passing you, stay on the right side and slow down so the driver will know when it’s safe to merge in front of you.
If you do happen to get into a truck accident, Baumgartner Law Firm may be able to help you settle.