If traveling from Bristol, taking the Delaware Expressway is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get into downtown Philadelphia. Although it may provide a direct route, it is also often packed with semi-trucks carrying loads across the state and occasionally helmed by drivers weary from hours on the road (some of whom may be in violation of federal hours-of-service rules).
With this, accidents involving large trucks are not uncommon, and often result in catastrophic injuries for drivers and any passengers.
But also keep in mind, according to a video created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “the statistics show that drivers of passenger vehicles, rather than truck drivers, are responsible for most of the crashes involving passenger vehicles and large trucks.”
In order to stay safe when traveling across the state then, it is important for all drivers to practice defensive driving techniques when driving around trucks, both on and away from the freeway. Here are a few simple guidelines that can help lower your chances of an accident.
Never Cut Directly in Front of a Truck
When attempting to change lanes in front of a truck, it can be extremely dangerous to do so without ample room for maneuvering by either party. Because of the height and length of the cab of most trucks, semi-truck drivers cannot see vehicles that are directly in front of them, and may be unaware of a car pulling in front of them.
The Share the Road Safely program advises drivers who want to pass in front of a truck to “look for the front of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling in front.”
Avoid a Squeeze Play Situation
In order to make right turns, truck drivers may first bank left, and then maneuver right, in order to negotiate the turn safely. Due to the slight leftward motion, a driver behind the truck may believe that the truck is turning left, and attempt to pull up to the right of the semi. As the truck turns back to the right though, the car then gets “squeezed” against a curb or other barrier, an accident that often results in serious injuries.
In order to avoid this “squeeze play” situation, drivers should always pay attention to any turn signals made by a truck driver. Additionally, drivers should never pass a truck on the right, and should always stay a safe distance behind a semi before attempting to pass on the left.
Pass Only When Possible
When a semi is chugging along at 20 miles per hour under the speed limit, aggressive drivers stuck behind it will often trail the truck as closely as possible, and look for the quickest possible opportunity to pass. Those who are lucky quickly fall back into the right lane in order to avoid a collision with oncoming traffic; those who make a mistake may end up in a catastrophic accident when attempting to pass.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid this type of accident with a truck is by remaining patient when driving behind a semi, and waiting only until there is ample time to pass by before attempting to do so. This may require you stay behind a semi for an extended period of time, but this can help prevent a wreck.
Know the Truck’s Blind Spots
Like other vehicles, trucks have blind spots. If you’re in one, the trucker can’t see you and may make a lane change without knowing you’re in the way. The truck’s blind spots are directly in front of the truck, as noted above, behind the truck, as well as on the sides. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s mirror, then the trucker can’t see you!
Call an Attorney if You Have Been in a Wreck
Although defensive driving tactics can lower the chances of an accident, even the most careful drivers may find themselves in a wreck. If you have been injured in an accident with a truck driver, contact the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC to set up a free consultation. We can examine the details of your case and help you begin filing a claim for damages. Call us today at 215-642-2335.