In 2017, the number of commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes rose 10 percent to 4,657 from 4,251 the previous year, according to the National Motor Carrier Safety Administration (NMCSA).
Simple actions by passenger vehicle drivers can help them avoid these dangerous drivers that outweigh the family car or SUV by tens of thousands of pounds. Follow these rules and your chances of not being involved in a devastating truck wreck improve dramatically. These same rules for safety apply to share the road with large tour buses.
Stay out of Blind Spots: Large trucks have huge blind spots on all four sides. If you can’t see the driver in the vehicle’s outside mirror, they can’t see you. Don’t drive in a truck’s blind spot. Slow down or move ahead. Stay visible and take extra care when merging or changing lanes.
Pass Safely: Again, make sure the driver sees you in their rearview mirror. Signal clearly then move into the left lane and accelerate so you can get past the truck quickly. Don’t linger in the blind spot. Once you’ve passed the big rig, and you can see the truck driver in your inside rearview mirror, signal, then gradually pull into the right lane. Don’t crowd the truck by merging into the right lane too soon, or too quickly.
Don’t Cut it Close: It’s especially dangerous to “cut off” a commercial truck. If you move in quickly, you’ll likely be in a blind spot. Even if you’re visible, the trucker may not be able to slow quickly enough to avoid a crash when you cut him off while merging into its lane.
Don’t Tailgate: Tailgating a truck puts you in another blind spot. Because trucks are high off the ground, your vehicle could slide (or get pushed) under a truck if it suddenly stops. Stay back when both you and the truck are stopped, especially on an upgrade, where a truck could rollback.
Anticipate Wide Turns – Trucks need extra turning room. They swing wide or may start a turn from an inside lane. Never try to squeeze by or get between a turning truck and the curb. Never “block the box” (intersection) or stop in front of the line of vehicles. And never pass a large truck on the right, especially near an intersection.
Be Patient: Trucks need time to accelerate and many have speed limiters (governors). This requires tolerance from other drivers. Honking, driving aggressively, or weaving through traffic can cause dangerous distractions and tragic crashes whether there are trucks around or not.
Stay Focused – Do not drive distracted, for any reason, especially around an 18 wheeler.
Distracted driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Don’t Drive Fatigued – Take regular breaks, get another driver to relieve you, or get off the road and find a safe place to rest. There are enough fatigued truckers on the road. Don’t add to the problem.
Never Drive Under the Influence – Alcohol and other drugs impair judgment and reaction time. And prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs may cause dizziness, sleepiness and/or slow reaction times. If your medication carries a warning to not drive while taking your meds, have someone else drive.
According to a survey by the American Trucking Association, nearly 80 percent of car-truck crashes are caused by car drivers. Follow these safety rules and you have a much better chance of avoiding a serious accident with an 18 wheeler.
Whether you or a family member was injured due to a car accident, commercial vehicle accident, or semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve. The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting car accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. Call our New York City and Queens car accident lawyers today if you have any questions about a car accident you were involved in. Call us at (718) 897-2211 www.unionlawyer.com