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7 Tips for Sharing the Road with Semi-Trucks

Posted in Truck Accidents on January 12, 2021

Living in north-central West Virginia, it’s almost impossible to avoid a tractor-trailer on interstates 79 & 68. It is no secret that tractor-trailer accidents are common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,602 people die in large truck crashes with 67 percent of these fatalities were occupants of cars and other passenger cars. While statistics show that the number of deaths caused by large trucking accidents has decreased over the last thirty years, large truck accidents do still occur frequently. 

The tips below will help you keep yourself, your family, and your passengers safer while sharing the road with large trucks. Keep them in mind and make them a part of your routine driving habits every time you are out on the road.

Tractor Trailer Following Distance– keep a safe minimum distance behind semis and big rigs on the road. It reports that a reasonable minimum distance for following these trucks is 20 to 25 car lengths.

Avoid Driving In Blind Spots– Large trucks have even larger blind spots where they cannot see cars and trucks driving alongside or behind them. The right side of a commercial motor vehicle is the largest blind spot for a truck driver — sometimes blocking their view for three or more lanes. A rule of thumb to consider is if you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you.

Keep a safe distance-Trucks are big, and you should always assume they are carrying full, heavy loads. When they are carrying full loads, they can weigh substantially more. This means is that trucks cannot stop as quickly as cars can. Tractor-trailers need both time and distance to slow down to a full stop, and when they attempt to stop short, they place themselves, their cargo, and other vehicles on the road at even greater risk. Unfortunately, this can cause problems because of:

  • How long it takes the driver to recognize the danger
  • The reaction time of the driver
  • Braking distance of the vehicle

Don’t cut off a large truck– Like mentioned above, semis have much longer stopping distances — up to two football fields when traveling 65 mph. To prevent a rear-end collision, make sure you can see the truck’s entire front end before merging in front of it.

Watch For Wide Turns– Tractor-trailers have a much wider turning radius than cars. It is also risky if you drive beside them and keep pace with them in this situation as they may not see you as they veer over to make right-hand turns.

Pass Quickly– Passenger vehicles typically drive faster than tractor-trailers, so passing them on the interstate is pretty much inevitable. When passing a truck, make sure you are driving closer to the shoulder rather than the truck, and always quickly pass instead of lingering by.

Always signal– It’s important to signal the driver at least three seconds or more before upcoming changes. This timing allows the truck driver to slow down or move over.

Obey Local Traffic Laws– Obey all traffic laws when driving. Also, pay attention to other cars on the roads that are not obeying them. This includes things like wearing your seatbelt, abiding by speed limits, and even observing proper passing zones.

Large Truck and tractor-trailer accidents cause severe injuries, which can lead to loss of work and wages. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a large truck or tractor-trailer accident, the attorneys at Manchin Injury Law Group can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.