10 Tips For Sharing The Road With Large Trucks And Buses
Driving on the highway can be nerve-wracking, especially when you find yourself sharing the highway with large trucks. Accidents with large trucks can be devastating for people riding in passenger vehicles. However, there are several things you can do as a passenger vehicle driver to keep yourself safe and to prevent truck accidents. Here are ten tips for sharing the road with a large truck:
- Understand a truck’s blind spots and avoid them. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are three major blind spots around large trucks that drivers should be aware of. A truck’s blind spot on the driver’s side is smaller than his or her blind spot on the truck’s passenger side. The truck’s passenger side blind spot spans two lanes and even extends behind the truck. The area directly behind the truck is also a blind spot. If you find yourself in a truck’s blind spot, remain calm, and either slow down or speed up to exit the blind spot. If you are behind a truck, slow down and give the truck sufficient space.
- When a truck passes you, slow down. You want to be in a truck’s blind spot, or “no zone” for as little time as possible. By slowing down when a truck passes, you reduce the time you’ll spend in the driver’s blind spot.
- Never cut off a truck. It takes a bus or large truck an estimated 40% longer to stop. Don’t assume that a truck can slow down in time to avoid hitting you.
- Don’t drive too closely behind a truck. Not only are you in the truck’s blind spot, but if you cannot stop in time while tailgating a truck, you could end up under the truck. People have been decapitated in accidents like this. Finally, it is important to remember that a truck might slide backwards a little when stopped or when starting on a steep grade. Stay back. According to the Cooper Law Firm, even an accident that occurs in slow-moving traffic can be deadly or devastating.
- Pass trucks on the left side. According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, you should pass a truck on the left side. Recall that trucks have smaller blind spots on the driver’s side. When passing a truck, you want to be on the side where the truck driver can see you for the longest period of time.
- Give trucks sufficient space to turn. Trucks are large and they require extra space to safely complete a turn. This means that if you are stopped at an intersection, you should always stop behind the line. This gives any turning vehicle, including a large truck, the space it needs to turn. If you find yourself blocking a large truck while it is turning, make sure you take appropriate safety precautions before putting your car in reverse. Pedestrians, bikers, and other cars may be stopped or moving behind you.
- Watch for signs a truck driver may be trying to change lanes. A big danger for passenger vehicles is when a truck driver tries to change lanes, but doesn’t see you in his or her blind spot. In addition to avoiding a truck’s blind spot, you should also pay close attention to the trucks around you. Is the truck signaling to turn or change lanes? Is the truck slowing down or speeding up? If the truck is aggressively tailgating you, you may just want to pull over or move to another lane and let the driver pass.
- In poor weather, give trucks even more space. In snowy or rainy weather, trucks can kick up snow, water, and other debris that can further impact your visibility. Drive more slowly and give trucks even more space during bad weather.
- Consider a truck’s weight before acting. Remember that a large truck is heavier than your vehicle. The physics of slowing down, stopping, or changing lanes will be very different than the physics of slowing down, stopping, or changing lanes in a passenger vehicle. Do everything you can to stay out of the way of a large truck.
- Don’t text and drive. Don’t drink and drive. Stay alert. Finally, this applies to all driving situations and conditions—but you simply cannot drive safely while you are distracted, texting, talking on your phone, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Truck drivers are required to abide by strict hours of service laws that regulate how long they can be on the road before taking a break. While passenger vehicle drivers are not regulated by these laws, it is wise to use your own common sense and take rest breaks. Don’t drive while sleepy.
Even the safest drivers can find their lives turned upside down if they are involved in an accident with a truck driver or bus. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash, you may have the right to seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Contact an accident lawyer today to learn more about your options and rights.