Every year, approximately 500,000 trucking accidents are reported in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. One percent, or 5,000, of those accidents result in fatalities annually. It is a reality that everyone must share the roadways, and people driving cars travel alongside large and heavy vehicles like tractor-trailers and buses every day.
Drivers of larger vehicles are limited in their ability to stop or turn quickly, and they have blind spots that prevent them from being able to see other vehicles on the roadway properly. To help keep all drivers safe, some general safety guidelines should be practiced whenever you find yourself near a big rig on the road.
Five Tips to Keep You Safer Near Trucks on the Road
Keep these five tips in mind whenever you are driving and help protect yourself, your passengers and others on the road.
- Be aware of blind spots. This may be the most important tip you will read. Trucks and buses have blind areas on the sides, rear and front of their vehicles where the driver can’t see you. A good rule of thumb is to check to see if you can see the driver in his or her side mirror. If you can see the driver, then he or she can see you.
- Allow plenty of room between you, the truck and the curb. Tractor-trailer drivers often need room to navigate a tight turn (especially a right turn), causing them to enter the lane to the left. Do not try to squeeze past a truck in an intersection or when it is turning. Allow time and space until the truck driver has completed the turn successfully.
- Use extra caution when passing a truck or bus. Do not linger near the side of the vehicle because blind spots may prevent the driver from seeing you. Make sure you can see the truck’s entire front end before entering the lane in front of it. Cutting off a truck but pulling in front of it prematurely can cause an accident — it takes longer for large vehicles to stop.
- Merge carefully. If you are entering a freeway or merging onto a road in front of a tractor trailer, make sure you leave plenty of space. If traffic if front of you slows after you pull out, the truck may not have enough space to stop, causing an accident. Decelerate if the truck needs to pass as you merge, minimizing the time you drive side-by-side with it.
- Use your signals liberally and with plenty of warning. One of the more common driving mistakes is to forget to signal or signal at the last minute when turning or changing lanes on the freeway. As mentioned before, tractor trailers need more time to be able to stop or make maneuvers. A truck may need as much as a football field’s length to come to a complete stop, depending on the weight it carries and its speed. Give the driver plenty of notice about your actions by using your signals properly.
I’ve been involved in a truck accident. What can I do?
If you have been injured in a truck accident,Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. Call us today to set up a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney: 215-642-2335.