When you drive on the highway, you will likely encounter tractor-trailers transporting goods. Since large trucks are usually weighed down by the load they’re carrying, they might not be able to move as quickly as you would like them to. Unfortunately, there are times when individuals start to pass the truck, the truck switches lanes directly into their car and a collision occurs. This happens more than you would think, and you may ask yourself, what went wrong?
Your car might have been in a “No Zone” and you didn’t even realize it, so the truck crashed into you. No Zones are the four main blind spots for large trucks: (1) directly in front of the cab; (2) directly behind the trailer; (3) a small patch just to the left of the trailer; and (4) most of the area to the right of the rig. These danger zones are the places where accidents are more likely to happen because commercial truck drivers cannot see passenger vehicles in these areas surrounding their rigs.
According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 82% of fatal crashes involving commercial trucks are multiple vehicle accidents with passenger vehicles. In many of these crashes, the passenger vehicles were most likely unseen by the truck until it was too late. If you need to pass a large truck on the road, you need to know the safest way to do that.
How Do I Drive Around a Large Truck?
When a passenger vehicle collides with a tractor-trailer, the driver of the car is more likely to be killed than the driver of the large truck. Since the truck is much larger, dangerous circumstances like underride can happen. With all the danger involved, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published tips for motorists to follow when driving around big rigs on the road.
Some of these tips include:
- Keep out of No Zones. As discussed above, these are dangerous areas to be in when driving around a large truck.
- Do not pass on the right. Truck drivers have low visibility to the right of their rig, so you never want to pass a truck on the right side. Always wait until you can pass on the left.
- Pass quickly. Don’t hang out in the truck’s blind spot, and don’t slow down when passing. Look into the trucker’s side view mirror to ensure that you can see them and make eye contact if possible, so you know that they see you as well.
- Be careful when merging. Again, speed up or slow down so that you are in a spot where the truck driver can see you before merging into another lane.
- Give them room. You never want to follow a truck too closely. If they brake and you can’t slow down quickly enough, you can crash into the back of their trailer, which can be deadly. You should also never cut off a tractor-trailer. Large trucks take 40% longer to stop than regular vehicles, so they could crash into you if you cut them off.
- Expect wide turns. A large truck has a turning radius of 55 feet, which is nearly 20 feet wider than a regular vehicle’s turning radius. This is why many intersections have lines painted to stop further back from the light so that you leave enough room for a truck to make a turn.
- Stay calm. It’s best to stay calm in all driving situations, so try not to get nervous when driving around large trucks. Additionally, if you drive aggressively around a tractor-trailer, you’re more likely to get into an accident because you probably aren’t following the previous rules. Make sure you remain patient and wait to pass until it is completely safe.
As always, the best way to avoid an accident of any kind is to stay alert, undistracted and sober while driving. That way you can make safe traffic decisions and anticipate what other drivers are going to do.
Getting Support After a Commercial Truck Accident
Being involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer can result in serious, catastrophic or fatal injuries. The issue of fault can be complicated in any accident. It can be even more complicated in a commercial truck accident. Truck drivers are required to adhere to standards in operating their large, heavy vehicles. An experienced truck accident lawyer at the Krzak Rundio Law Group can help you navigate through the rules and regulations that govern truck drivers in order to get a favorable result.
By filing a civil lawsuit against a guilty company or individual driver that allowed a truck crash to happen, policies may change, and commercial trucks may become less dangerous to share the road with. To learn more, contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. With our help, you and your family can rest easy and focus on your recovery while we do everything in our power to obtain a favorable result for you or your family through trial or settlement on your behalf.