How to Stay Safe Driving Near Large Trucks
Large truck accidents are responsible for causing thousands of serious injuries and deaths every year. Driving near a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler can be nerve-wracking due to the risk of a catastrophic traffic accident. The following tips can help you stay safe when driving near large trucks. If you get injured in a truck collision despite your best efforts to avoid a crash, contact a Louisville truck accident lawyer from Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery. We can help you seek justice.
Avoid the “No Zone”
Tractor-trailers have large blind spots. The long length of the trailer creates areas on all four sides of the truck where the truck driver cannot see surrounding vehicles. This is known as the “No Zone.” It extends approximately 30 feet behind the truck, 20 feet in front of the truck, one lane to the left of the truck and two lanes to the right. As a motor vehicle driver, do your best to stay out of the No Zone to help prevent merge, lane-change or sideswipe accidents.
When driving behind or next to a large truck, pass it as quickly as possible. Safely pass a large truck by making sure you can see the truck driver in his or her side mirror beforehand. This will ensure the driver sees you, as well. Accelerate as quickly as you can without exceeding the speed limit to get past the truck promptly. Then, move back in front of the truck when it becomes visible in your rearview mirror.
Leave Enough Space
Due to their weight, large trucks need extra space to come to a stop. Account for this braking distance by leaving ample space between your vehicle and a commercial truck. Never cut a truck off and hit your brakes, as the truck may not be able to stop in time to avoid rear-ending you. Large trucks take up a lot of room on the road in general; do not underestimate how much space a commercial truck needs to brake, turn, change lanes and maneuver.
Watch for Wide Turns
Tractor-trailers also need extra room to turn. To turn right, for instance, the cab of a large truck needs to swing out to the left beforehand. Anticipate turns and keep a wide berth if a truck uses its turn signal. Never try to squeeze past a turning truck on the right or left side. When you stop at an intersection, do not stop in front of the line, as a large truck may need this space to execute a turn safely.
Look for Signs of Drowsy Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are prone to drowsiness, fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel due to the unique pressures of their jobs. Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road by themselves. Many of them have to drive overnight and try to sleep during the day in the truck’s sleeper berth. Watch for signs of a drowsy truck driver, such as a truck that is drifting out of its lane, hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road, or braking and accelerating erratically. If you suspect a drowsy truck driver, keep a safe distance and report the driver to the police.
Always Drive Defensively
If you end up driving near a large truck, practice defensive driving. This means driving in a way that anticipates potential hazards at all times. Be prepared to stop or maneuver to avoid an accident at a moment’s notice. Stay vigilant and on the lookout for possible accident risks, such as careless or reckless truck drivers, truck equipment breakdowns, tire blowouts, road defects, and inclement weather. Avoid distractions, stay focused, and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Pay attention to the road and pass the large truck near you as safely and promptly as possible.