Driving on the highway behind, alongside, or even in front of a tractor-trailer without understanding the limitation of these larger vehicles can be dangerous. It’s important to know how to share the road with these big rigs safely in order to avoid a potential catastrophe.
Collisions between semi-trailers and cars can be devastating and lead to severe injuries and fatalities. In fact, the chances for fatalities occurring in these types of crashes are quite significant.
According to statistics from the NHSTA for 2016, crashes involving large trucks accounted for 4317 fatalities. Of this number, 16.7 percent were occupants of large trucks, 72.4 percent occupied other vehicles, and 10.8 percent did not occupy a vehicle.
Below are some important tips about sharing the road safely with larger vehicles such as tractor-trailers, large trucks, RVs, and buses.
Keep a safe distance during the poor weather or road conditions
In poor weather conditions, semi-trailers have less visibility and less control than smaller vehicles. Driving next to semi-trailer in heavy rain conditions can cause your vehicle to be splashed with water continually, creating a dangerous visibility condition. As well the excess water produced with your vehicle increases the danger of skidding at highway speeds.
Another factor to keep in mind is that semi-trailers cannot slow down as quickly as smaller vehicles. It’s important to keep a safe distance from these big rigs at all times during treacherous weather.
Remain aware of a big rig’s blind spots
Large vehicles such as tractor-trailers have considerable blind spots, sometimes referred to as “no zones.” These are located on the sides and back of the vehicle. Avoid remaining in these blind spot regions. If the driver of the tractor-trailer cannot see you, the danger for an accident increases. If you follow a big rig too closely, you may end up in its blind spot. Always keep a following distance regardless of the traveling speed.
Take into account the longer stopping time required by large trucks
Large and heavy trucks take significantly longer to stop them smaller cars. It’s important to leave plenty of space in front or behind a semi-trailer truck. Either condition can be dangerous when a fast or sudden stop occurs. If you are out in front of a large trailer and intend to slow down, perform the breaking gently and gradually to let the driver of the trailer know you are slowing down.
Also, avoid pulling in front of a large truck suddenly. The driver may not have sufficient time to slow down before impacting your car.
Give enough space for a large truck to maneuver or make a right turn
Semi-trailers need a considerable amount of space when performing turning maneuvers – this is especially true when they execute right turns. When making a wide right turn these drivers will often maneuver all the way into the left lane or at least between both lanes to create enough turning space.
If you are following a semi-trailer truck and notice its intention to turn right, do not pass the truck. Allow it to make the turn. Otherwise, your vehicle may become squeezed as you attempt to pass.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you may be facing a long recovery from your injuries as well as mounting medical bills. You need a strong advocate who knows how to negotiate a favorable settlement with a powerful insurance company on your behalf. An experienced South Carolina truck accident attorney from our team at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 803-327-7800 or complete our contact form.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood