Avoiding 18-Wheeler Collisions: How to Stay Safe on the Road
When driving on the road, we have to trust that those driving 18-Wheeler trucks have been well-trained on how to operate them safely and avoid collisions. Unfortunately, truck drivers don’t always get the training they require and are not always aware of the smaller vehicles around them. In fact, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), estimates that 3,903 people were killed in the United States in 2014 due to accidents with large trucks. While the road can be dangerous, there are actions you can take to avoid a collision with an 18-wheeler and remain safe.
Watch Your Following Distance
When driving, you should always be mindful of how much room you have between your car and another vehicle. This is particularly important if you are on the road near an 18-wheeler. 18-wheelers can experience tire blowouts causing the driver to quickly lose control of the truck. Also, you will want to leave plenty of space between you in the event that the truck suddenly changes lanes or stops unexpectedly. If you are too near, you could be hit or not have the time you need to stop. Leaving a three-second gap of time between you and the other vehicle could help you avoid a serious accident.
Be Aware of Blind Spots
18-wheelers are constructed in a manner that they can carry large loads. This includes being of a length and size which creates significant blind spots. With this limited visibility, it is easy for a trucker to miss seeing you in the lane beside them when they move to change lanes. An excellent way to determine how well you can be seen is to assume that if you cannot see the driver of the truck, either through the side view mirrors of the window, the driver cannot see you either.
Be Careful not to Cutoff an 18-Wheeler
Due to their size, 18-wheelers are significantly less navigable than other vehicles. Consequently, their weight and design make it much harder for them to stop suddenly. If it is necessary for you to pass in front of a large truck, give them sufficient space to respond to your lane change. Further, if you are traveling in front of an 18-wheeler, be careful not to suddenly break as it may not be possible for the other vehicle to stop in time to avoid crashing into you.
Watch the Truck’s Turning Radius
18-Wheelers require a substantial amount of space to make a full turn. The larger the truck, the more room and time it will need to complete a turn. Attempting to pass a turning truck is dangerous as it could result in a serious collision. Be patient and give the truck the area it needs to turn safely.
Drive with Courtesy
Passenger cars can more easily change lanes than 18-wheelers. It is usually safer for a passenger car to make a lane change than it is for an 18-wheeler. Additionally, when a truck of this size picks up speed, it can be unsafe for it to make a sudden lane change. If you see a large truck coming up behind you and you can’t or don’t want to match its speed, get out of the way and allow the truck to pass you. Not only is it friendly to move to the side, it helps ensure that you and the truck remain safe.
When driving it is always essential that you remain alert and aware of your surroundings. Allowing distractions such as a cell phone or an in-car entertainment system can have deadly consequences. You need to keep your full attention on your driving and the conditions around you. Whether you are driving around large trucks or not, it is always important to stay alert and aware. Distracted driving can be deadly. If you keep your full attention on the road, then you know you are staying safe.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Even with safe driving tactics, good drivers can still be involved in accidents with trucks. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you need an experienced attorney on your side. The attorneys at Draper Law Firm, have experience advocating for injured drivers and are ready to fight for you. Please, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to learn more about our firm here.