Five Rules for Driving Safely Around Semi-Trucks

Accidents involving semi-trucks are incredibly serious. The large size of semi-trucks means that even minor accidents have the potential to be deadly. If you want to stay safe on the road and avoid getting into an accident with a semi, follow these five important rules for driving safely around them.

Give Truckers Plenty of Room

Crowding a semi-truck on the road is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. There are many things that can go wrong with a semi-truck, and each of them can cause an accident with other cars on the road. For example, the stress that’s put on the tires of semi-trucks from hauling a large amount of cargo can, and often do, lead to tire blowouts. In fact, much of the tire debris you commonly see on the highway comes from semi-trucks. If you’re driving too closely to a truck when a tire goes, you’re facing the possibility of being hit by heavy rubber shards flying all over the place. Another reason to give trucks plenty of room is that their large size makes them susceptible to movement from the wind. If a strong gust of wind comes along, the truck you’re driving next to could get pushed into your lane.

Make Sure You’re Visible to Truck Drivers

One common cause of truck accidents caused by passenger vehicles is that cars will drive in a truck driver’s blind spots. If you’re driving in one of a truck’s blind spots and something happens – a truck driver swerving to avoid road debris, a sudden brake, etc. – then you’re likely to crash. Truck drivers can’t adjust their driving behavior around you if they can’t see you. For this reason, it’s important not to tailgate semi-trucks, and be extremely careful about passing a semi on the right side, as it’s the side that’s barely visible to the driver. When passing a truck on the left side, be sure to do so quickly. Don’t hang around the side. Once you do pass a truck, don’t immediately cut in front. It can take a fully-loaded semi the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop if they’re driving 60 mph.

Don’t Make Any Risky Maneuvers

On the back of every semi-truck, there is a warning which warns drivers that trucks make wide right-hand turns. Despite this, many cars still try to occupy the space that a truck needs to turn, which frequently causes accidents. If a truck has its turn signal on, it’s best to hang back, be careful, and let them go ahead of you, as opposed to trying to get in ahead of them before they do so. Because trucks are so large, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a truck driver to correct for your mistake once they realize you’re making it.

Be Alert in the Presence of a Semi Truck

Even though it can be tempting, it’s important to avoid distracted driving around semi-trucks. It’s true that it’s best to avoid distracted driving whenever you’re on the road, but it’s especially true around trucks. Because of the serious risks associated with being involved in an accident with a truck, wait until you’re clear of a semi-truck before changing the radio station, answering the phone, or addressing any other potential distractions.

Be Patient

It can be frustrating, when you’re driving on the road, to get stuck behind what seems like a slow moving truck. Despite this, it’s important that you remember to be patient when sharing the road with a semi-truck. The slow pace that a truck is driving may in fact be due to the truck’s speed limiter, which many companies install for your safety as well as the drivers. As the old saying goes, “it’s better to be safe than sorry,” and with semi-trucks, it’s better to be patient than to be involved in a potentially deadly accident.

If you’ve been involved in a semi-truck accident, contact one of the experienced semi-truck accident attorneys as Nelson MacNeil Rayfield for a free consultation. 

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