Trucking accidents cause thousands of deaths every year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most of the fatality victims were the occupants of the cars involved in these accidents. This isn't unexpected given the huge size difference between large trucks and cars. As a motorist, your best defense against becoming a statistic yourself is knowing how to share the road with trucks. Too many people treat semi-trucks as though they were other cars and fail to appreciate just how dangerous these vehicles are.
The most important safety rule when sharing the road with trucks is giving them a wide berth. This means giving them more space than you would for other cars. Here are some of the dangers associated with driving in front, beside, and behind semi-trucks:
Driving in Front of a Semi-Truck
Semi-trucks require 20-40 percent more braking distance than cars. When the roads are wet or slippery with snow, their braking distances increase dramatically. Truck drivers should know this and maintain an appropriate following distance. However, some are rushed to meet deadlines and may drive aggressively. If a truck is tailgating you, don't waste time moving into another lane to let it pass. When passing a truck, don't return to the truck's lane until you can see the driver's face in your rearview mirror. This means he or she can see you.
Driving Beside a Truck
When passing a truck on a multi-lane road, make sure the truck doesn't intend to move into your passing lane. Pass quickly and never linger beside the truck. Avoid passing on the right side of the vehicle because you'll have to move through its largest blind spots. In fact, most passing accidents happen on the right side. If a lane is available, pass two lanes over from the truck. These vehicles can do unexpected things such as making sudden driving corrections to counter wind gusts, shifting trailer loads, or tire problems.
Driving Behind a Truck
If you're tailgating a truck, its driver can't see you and, therefore, won't adjust their driving to take you into account. Potholes and large road debris that are easily cleared by the truck can take you off guard. You're also vulnerable to rocks kicked up by its tires, tire fragments from a blowout, and any cargo that might fall off its trailer.
If another semi-truck moves in behind you, the driver may forget you're there because you're hidden beneath his hood and the truck in front of you has his attention. Many cars have been crushed in these situations. Finally, if you aren't paying close attention, you could rear-end the trailer.
If in spite of your careful driving, a negligent or aggressive truck driver injured you in a trucking accident, seek legal advice from the experienced lawyers at Odegaard Braukmann Law. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us.