You know that anxious feeling when driving on the highway, and you find yourself behind or next to a monstrous 18-wheeler truck? Maybe it’s the vehicle’s size or the unwelcome recall of that news flash of a car totaled by a trailer truck. Whatever it is, you decide to overtake that 18-wheeler and put it a reasonable distance behind you.
The general assumption is that truck drivers are responsible for many truck-and-car accidents. However, a study shows that car drivers cause about 70% of truck and car crashes. Furthermore, 16% of the cases find the truckers at fault, while 10% are both drivers’ fault. While this may be so, the impact upon collision is more significant on the car because of the truck’s size. As a result, the car’s occupants often sustain more injuries, sometimes fatal ones.
When this happens, it’s best to hire a truck accident attorney because of the unique aspects of the case. These include special regulations concerning truckers and the trucking industry.
Of course, the best thing is to avoid truck accidents altogether. Here are a few tips on safely sharing the road with a truck.
1. Pass a truck as quickly and safely as possible
There are reasons why you should take as little time as possible when passing a truck:
- Big trucks have a major blind spot along their side. The trucker cannot see you even if you drive next to them and may attempt to change lanes.
- A tire blowing or debris flying from a truck may cause significant damage to smaller vehicles next to them.
- A truck’s trailer may drift into a smaller vehicle’s lane in extreme weather conditions.
Keep as much distance from the truck as possible and drive past quickly. It’s good to remember that if you can’t see the trucker’s face, the trucker can’t see your car.
2. Know when to use high beam headlights at night
Full or high beam headlights can blind drivers coming towards you. Use them only on dark roads when there are no other vehicles. Turn off high beams for oncoming traffic, following another car, or turning left at an intersection.
3. Be extra cautious when stopping
Pull off to shoulder if you need to stop for some reason. If you are on the left or center lane, check for any vehicles, especially trucks, behind you before changing lanes to the right. Trucks need time before they can stop, so allow them enough time to slow down.
4. Minimize distractions while driving
Most people experience three types of distraction when driving. The first is visual when you take your eyes off the road. The second is manual when you take your hands off the wheel. Finally, you have cognitive distractions when you take your mind off driving.
Minimize distractions by putting away your phone. Do not text and drive. Do not reach for anything that will require you to take your eyes off the road.
The trucking industry is the economic backbone of the country, so we all need to learn to share the road with them. Follow these safety tips and reduce the chances of a serious accident. However, if you sustain injuries in a truck accident, protect your rights by getting competent legal advice.