There are more than half a million truck accidents on the road every year. Whilst all traffic accidents are dangerous because trucks are so big and powerful, incidents involving trucks can be particularly dangerous. The damage and harm that can be done to other drivers and their vehicles if they are involved in one of these accidents can be extensive both in terms of physical injury and vehicle damage. Because truck drivers usually drive long distances and hours, many of these accidents come as the result of tiredness, distraction, or speeding to get to their destination in time for a delivery or pick up.Trucks are very difficult to drive and so it is up to both the truck driver and other road users to take all the steps to Driving Safely.
It is so important for other road users to know how to drive safely around trucks in order to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. Whilst not all accidents are avoidable, there are many steps you can take so that you can minimize your chance of an incident. This article is a guide to expert tips for driving safely around trucks.
1. Watch Out For Truck Driver’s Blind Spots
We have all been in a situation where we have gone to change lanes and suddenly realized that we are about to drive into the side of a vehicle that we didn’t even know was there. It may seem like checking your mirrors is sufficient enough to ensure that there is no danger, but all vehicles have a “blind spot”, and anything that is in that blind spot is impossible to the driver. Quite often when there is an accident involving a truck that is being disputed in court, it is because the truck driver says the other vehicle was in their blind spot. Their lawyers point out that trucks have a significantly larger blind spot than cars or other smaller vehicles and so the accident was just that; an accident. This will come as no comfort to the other driver who may have sustained substantial injuries or significant damage to their vehicle.
In order to drive safely around trucks, it is therefore very important to know where trucks’ blind spots are. Generally speaking, the truck driver will not be able to see you if you are twenty feet in front of them or thirty feet behind them because you will be blocked by their pillars. Try and stay out of these spots so that you are visible at all times. If you are driving behind a truck or alongside it, check if you can see the driver in his side-view mirror; if you can see him, then he can see you.
2. Take Precautions when Passing a Truck
Anyone who has ever passed a truck on a highway knows how scary it can be. We feel very vulnerable as we drive alongside it, knowing that at any time it could move into our lane and crush us. Furthermore, if the truck driver sees you late, it can take a long time before they are able to slow down or swerve out of the way as trucks are not very maneuverable. In order to minimize the risk of passing a truck, here are some essential tips:
1. When possible, pass on the driver’s side where his range of visibility is better.
2. Never pass a truck on a hill as it is harder for truck drivers to control their speed and braking on a hill.
3. Never pull back in front of a truck you have passed until your car is at least five vehicle lengths clear.
3. Signal Clearly Before Making a Pass
Clear signaling is absolutely vital for informing a truck driver of your intentions to pass him and give him the time he needs to react. Start your signaling a lot sooner than if you were passing a smaller vehicle because, as noted above, you may be in the truck driver’s blind spot so he might not see you. Start signaling and then wait a moment before you start your passing maneuver. If at any point during the maneuver it becomes clear that the truck driver hasn’t seen you, you may need to abandon your pass and wait for the opportune movement. Whatever you do, make your intentions and your actions clear so that the driver knows exactly what you are doing and can make way, especially if he is in a really big truck.
Whilst every traffic accident is dangerous and even potentially lethal, truck accidents can be particularly deadly. Trucks are very difficult to drive and so it is up to both the truck driver and other road users to take all the necessary safety precautions to minimize the risk of an accident. Always avoid blind spots, make your intentions clear with your signal lights, and pass only when it is safe to do so.