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Truck accidents aren’t necessarily more common than typical car accidents, but they are deadlier. When big rigs crash into smaller vehicles, passenger vehicle occupants almost always suffer worse injuries than truck drivers. In 2016, 4,213 fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involved commercial trucks. Most fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Reduce your risk of a collision with a large truck by being proactive. Use the following safety tips to share the road with big rigs – without risking your life.
If you were recently involved in an accident with a big rig, speak to a truck wreck lawyer from Orange County now. A qualified attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Never drive too closely to the front of a big rig. Large trucks take longer to stop than passenger vehicles traveling the same speed. It takes about twice as much distance for an 18-wheeler to stop than a smaller vehicle. Assuming a truck driver can stop before hitting you can lead to a deadly rear-end collision. Don’t swerve in front of big rigs and hit your brakes, as odds are the driver can’t stop the truck fast enough to avoid striking you.
The No Zone describes areas on all sides of the big rig where the truck driver has blind spots. The length and height of a big rig makes it impossible for truckers to clearly see all parts of the roadway. Although many drivers assume truckers have a better vantage point from so high up, the opposite is true. Stay at least 30 feet away from the back of the truck, 20 feet from the front, one lane from the left, and two lanes from the right to avoid a truck’s No Zone. This will minimize your odds of the truck merging on top of you, or colliding with the truck if it stops.
Braking isn’t the only thing big rigs do differently. All types of maneuvers take longer from behind the wheel of a large truck. Truckers must make slow, wide turns, and cannot maneuver to avoid a collision very quickly. Give a truck driver plenty of time and space to make his/her move, always assuming the trucker cannot see you or stop in time. Never cut off a truck to reach an exit or while the truck is making a turn. Don’t tailgate a big rig, or you could end up in a fatal underride accident. Go slow in all that you do around a big truck.
Don’t linger behind or near a big rig if you can help it. Minimizing time spent around the commercial truck can reduce your risk of a serious accident. Pass the large truck as soon as it is safe to do so. Pass as quickly as you can without speeding. Spending too much time hovering by the side of the truck puts you in a dangerous No Zone. The large size of the truck also creates a wind tunnel that can push and pull your vehicle. Carry out your passing maneuver as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A common mistake passenger vehicle drivers make is assuming the big size and heavy weight of a big rig means all trucks are driving slowly. This can lead to motorists trying to turn in front of oncoming trucks when they don’t have enough time to do so safely. Don’t underestimate the speed of an approaching big rig at an intersection. Remember, large trucks cannot stop as quickly. The truck will smash into you if you make a turn without enough time. T-bone collisions with big rigs are often fatal for motorists.
To be safe, avoid thinking you always have the right-of-way since a commercial truck is slower than your vehicle. The slowness of the large truck does not determine right-of-way at an intersection or freeway on-ramp. The regular rules of the road still apply with a big rig in the picture. Yield a truck driver the right-of-way when applicable. Give the truck driver enough time and space to make his/her move before proceeding.