The large commercial trucks that roll along on our nation’s highways can be quite intimidating, with their massive size and weight, huge loads of cargos, as they travel along beside us or behind us. Because truck accidents are often catastrophic in nature, it is critical for all vehicle drivers to use extra caution when they are driving near a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck, but when an accident does happen, it is wise for an injury victim to speak with a truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis, IN.
There are certain hazards that truck drivers have to deal with that other vehicle drivers do not. These dangers can result in truck accidents – and often do. Some of these hazards are:
- Blind spots: While all vehicles may have some sort of blind spots, commercial trucks have several blind spots that run along the sides of the truck, as well as the front and the rear. It is impossible for truck drivers to see other vehicles who are in the blind spots, causing a perilous situation for everyone.
- Wide turns: A large commercial truck requires more space to make a safe turn, particularly when they are making right turns. If a truck driver underestimates how much space they really need, any vehicles in the berth path is in danger.
- Longer stopping distance and time: When you are in a passenger vehicle and have to quickly hit your brakes, the vehicle comes to a quick stop. Semi-trucks take even longer to stop. If something comes up quickly in front of a truck, the driver may not have enough time or distance to bring the vehicle to a complete stop.
- Reaction time: It takes more time for a truck to change lanes, merge into traffic, and other driving maneuvers than it does a passenger vehicle.
- Wind: Many people do not realize this, thinking that the weight of a large truck keeps it steady in wind. The reality is that the trailer of the truck acts like a sail when there are strong winds, and this makes the vehicle even harder to control.
Safety Tips When You Are Driving Near a Large Truck
A truck accident attorney knows that there are certain steps other drivers can take when they are traveling near commercial trucks in order to stay safe and help reduce their risk of crashing.
Avoiding the truck’s blind spot is crucial. Knowing where these blind spots are can help:
- Front: 20 feet in front of the cab
- Rear: 30 feet from the rear of the trailer
- Right: Angle from the cab to the area behind the trailer that extends two lanes wide
- Left: Angle from the cab to the middle of the trailer that extends one lane wide
Always allow extra space between your vehicle and the truck. This gives trucks the extra space they need to change lanes, follow your vehicle, turn, and brake. Vehicle drivers should also avoid turning from the inner lane next to a truck. If the truck needs to turn, you risk being hit if the truck needs to turn and you have not left them enough room.
How you pass a truck is also critical. Try to pass the truck on its left and give yourself more space when doing so. Always make sure you can see the truck’s rear view mirror before you move in front of the truck. And if a truck is passing you, slow down and let it.
Thanks to Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and tips for avoiding truck accidents.